Latino Student Success

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Latino Student Success: A Key Driver on the Road to Goal 2025
America’s Economic Future Increasingly Depends on Graduating More Latinos from College

NOV. 7, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS – Latinos are the fastest-growing student population in America and a new effort is now focused on leveraging the critical connection between their educational attainment and the future of our national economy. Today, Lumina Foundation launches a collaborative partnership designed to strengthen ventures in key metropolitan areas that show promise in improving the postsecondary attainment of Latino students.

Under the project, Lumina will provide a total of $7.2 million over a four-year period to 12 partnerships in 10 states with significant and growing Latino populations. The partnerships will leverage community leaders across key policy, education, business and nonprofit sectors to build, implement and sustain successful “place-based efforts” that capitalize on their local talents and ingenuity.

“The Latino success project is the culmination of nearly two years of planning and engagement with many foundations and national leaders in the Latino community, said Lumina President and CEO Jamie Merisotis. Through these partnerships, we aim to build bridges among leadership groups already working to improve Latino college student success.”

Grant support through the Latino program will provide an array of services to Latino students and families, including training in financial literacy, help with K12-to-college transfer and transition issues, and improved developmental courses designed to move students more efficiently toward credit-bearing courses. After extensive consultation with national, regional and local experts in philanthropy, Latino education, higher education and community engagement, Lumina Foundation has invited the grantees to focus on:

  • Better data to drive decisions
  • Connecting to the community
  • Working in partnership
  • Measuring all of these efforts
  • “These types of partnerships are vitally important to helping the United States remain economically competitive,” says Juan Sepulveda, director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. “Over the last decade, we’ve gone from having the highest proportion of college-educated workers to now being ranked 10th. Reaching world-class levels of college attainment will require us to find ways to assure that dramatically more students have the opportunity to succeed in higher education.”

    Lumina Foundation seeks to do just that through a national Goal 2025 movement that aims to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. Lumina is keenly aware that Latinos are key to achieving this goal — and to the nation’s economic future.

    At more than 50 million, Latinos represent the largest and fastest-growing population group in the United States. By 2025, half of the nation’s workers will be of Latino descent. At that time, 63 percent of all jobs in the United States will require some form of postsecondary education or training, according to labor economist Anthony Carnevale of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

    “Latinos are emblematic of today’s 21st century student,” said Merisotis. “They are largely first-generation college students — many of whom are working adults, with family responsibilities who oftentimes begin their postsecondary education in community colleges. Increasing the access and degree attainment rates of Latinos is critical and our hope is that Latino Student Success will provide catalytic support that can have a positive impact on making all 21st century students more successful.”

    “All of us committed to higher education success for Latinos look forward to this work and the results it will produce,” says Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. “We are prepared to learn from their outcomes and apply best practices going forward.”

    Here is the list of institutions that will become Latino partners with Lumina, along with a brief explanation of the strategies each will employ. Each of the organizations listed will receive $600,000 during the four-year period:

    Phoenix College, flagship member of the Maricopa County Community College District, will lead the Degree Phoenix partnership with the City of Phoenix and the Phoenix Union High School District to strengthen educational attainment for Latino students in the greater Phoenix area (78 percent Latino population). The goal is to strengthen pathways from high school to college and college to workforce by: 1) creating single point-of-contact resources for students and their families; 2) giving students more academic options via Arizona’s primary articulation pathways (Arizona General Education Curriculum and Maricopa to ASU Pathways Program); 3) targeting Workforce Investment Act (WIA)-eligible young people who are interested in earning a certificate and/or credential while enrolled in GED programs; and 4) employing the use of common data systems to better track education and career success.

    Projected outcome: A 20 percent increase in the number of students earning a postsecondary credential during a six-year period.

    Long Beach City College (LBCC) will partner with 31 local and state organizations to strengthen an existing, 16-member place-based partnership to increase Latino student success in Long Beach and the surrounding cities of Lakewood, Signal Hill and Catalina Island. The Long Beach College Promise is designed to address the most significant preparation, access and success barriers facing Latino students. Strategies of the Promise Pathway initiative include: 1) increased faculty collaboration and curriculum alignment; 2) improved articulation agreements, bridge programs and other support services to create seamless transitions for students from high school to community college and community college to four-year campus; 3) establish parent engagement events and other community activities to increase college awareness and active college involvement for a diverse set of stakeholders throughout the Latino community.

    Projected outcome: Increase in student college access and success; increase in transparent collaboration among the partners; and improvement in college knowledge for multiple audiences within the Latino community.

    Santa Ana College (SAC) will create a guaranteed admission pathway from Santa Ana to California State University-Fullerton (CSUF) and the University of California-Irvine (UCI). SAC’s !Adelante! program serves the 79 percent Hispanic population by employing strategies that include: 1) required completion of SAC admissions and financial aid/scholarship applications by all seniors in the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD); 2) specialized transfer planning with transfer application support workshops, individualized case management and peer mentoring; 3) guaranteed funding assistance to all students with unmet need who complete financial aid applications; and 4) bridging activities once SAC students advance to universities, including direct linkages for academic and financial support.

    Projected outcome: Santa Ana expects an 80 percent overall college-going rate among SAUSD graduates, 80 percent of !Adelante! Students completing an associate’s degree within three years, and 85 percent of !Adelante! Students who transfer to CSUF or UCI will earn a bachelor’s degree within three academic years of transferring.

    Miami Dade College (MDC), with the largest Latino enrollment of any campus-based college or university in the United States, will collaborate with 11 community-based partners to close the achievement gap for Latinos in Miami-Dade County (65 percent Latino population). MDC will expand its efforts to design and implement a model pathway to college completion by: 1) providing financial literacy resources and services to secondary and post-secondary students and their families; 2) designing professional development programs for Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) counselors and ensuring completion of college applications for MDCPS students; 3) aligning MDCPS curriculum with MDC’s accelerated developmental education program with customized academic interventions; 4) aligning MDC’s curriculum with public four-year institutions in Florida and leveraging employer resources for scholarship and job opportunities (Transfer 2 + 2 + Work); and 5) developing a comprehensive public information campaign in support of Latino Student Success.

    Projected outcome: MDC expects to make significant strides in providing students access into college and will work toward an 85 percent retention rate.

    Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah will partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Junior Achievement, YMCA, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, and two colleges and universities to execute CAMINO (College Access Mentoring Information and Outreach). CAMINO will provide: 1) a pre-college pipeline program that serves students in the 9th-12th grades; 2) a parent engagement program for Latino parents of first-generation college students; 3) enhanced college support services for Latino students attending the three participating colleges and universities; and 4) a targeted marketing, recruitment and admissions counseling effort to reach older Latino students who have earned some college credit but lack a degree.

    Projected outcome: These efforts will serve a total Latino population of 30,861 and increase Latino student attainment.

    Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) will partner with state and community leaders to initiate the Kentucky Latino Alliance (K’LEA). Strategies of the K’LEA project include: 1) bilingual culturally relevant outreach efforts; 2) student and family support through Latino outreach coordinators; 3) financial aid and financial literacy information and training; 4) employment and career services support; 4) peer mentoring; and 5) two-year to four-year transfer and articulation support.

    Projected outcome: These efforts will assist Kentucky Latinos in overcoming the barriers that hinder postsecondary participation and success and set Kentucky on track to meet Lumina’s 60 percent college attainment goal by 2025. The aim is to help 78,000 Latinos in Kentucky attain a high-quality degree or credential.

    New Mexico
    University of New Mexico (UNM) will partner with Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) and Albuquerque Public Schools to expand a one-stop shop model (linking services to school goals and student/family needs) at high schools and postsecondary institutions in the Albuquerque area. Building on a “no wrong door” philosophy, strategies for the Unidos Project include: 1) developing a community-school model with two middle and two high schools and; 2) creating seamless transitions from CNM to UNM and implementing complementary support services.

    Projected outcome: By providing easier access to services coupled with an improved path through the pipeline, UNM expects increased student success at a rate of 10 percent each year.

    New York
    The Hispanic Federation will partner with City University of New York (CUNY), NYC Latino social services agencies, the NYC Department of Education, Citibank and selected high schools to increase the number of New York City Latino college students who graduate with high-quality degrees. The CREAR Futuros project, which means “To create futures,” will build a “Community of Care” in which Latino students are encouraged to develop strong relationships with individuals vested in their achievement.

    Projected outcome: Forty percent of participants of CREAR Futuros are expected to graduate.

    North Carolina
    Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) will partner with the Adelante Education Coalition in a three-pronged approach targeting students, parents and educators to decrease high school dropout rates and increase postsecondary access and success for Latinos. Focusing on the increasing number of Latinos in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, strategies of HIP’s Triangle for Latino Student Success project include: 1) developing a coordinated system to provide year-round after-school college preparation and leadership development to high school students, one-on-one mentorship to college students, and support for first-year college students; 2) creating a shared system and corresponding metrics to monitor student and family interventions; and 3) continued advocacy for state and local policies that promote Latino student success.

    Projected outcome: These efforts will allow HIP to align strategies and leverage resources resulting in direct services to 4,700 Latino students per year.

    The Tennessee Higher Education Commission will partner with the Memphis Mayor’s Office, Memphis Talent Dividend, Southwest Community College, Kingsbury High School and the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce to increase the high school graduation and postsecondary persistence, transfer and completion of Latino students in Memphis. Strategies for this project include: 1) a peer mentoring program; 2) a program to ensure application for federal student aid; 3) a two-year to four-year transfer and articulation program; and 4) a Spanish-language college access and success marketing and information campaign designed to serve both traditional-aged students and adult learners with some college credit.

    Projected outcome: Given Memphis’ distinction as the city with the largest and most rapidly growing Latino population in Tennessee, it serves as a prime location to affect the state’s college attainment rate.

    The San Antonio Education Partnership (SAEP) was founded more than 20 years ago on the premise that collectively five major partner groups (business sector, higher education institutions, school districts, local governments and local industrial area organizations) could best address the low educational attainment among the 1.3 million San Antonio residents. Through this grant, SAEP will partner with multiple organizations to serve Latino students in five major areas: 1) goal setting; 2) career planning; 3) college entry and enrollment; 4) financial aid; and 5) college transition.

    Projected outcome: These components will narrow the college success gap for Latino students and increase the proportion of Latino students in San Antonio who complete college degrees to 30 percent by the summer of 2015.

    Southwest Texas Junior College (SWTJC) in Uvalde will partner with regional, state and national organizations to develop a four-stage pathway program (Introduction to College, Progression to Degree Attainment, Transfer and Graduation, and Career Success) to improve the graduation and transfer rate of Latino students in southwestern Texas. Strategies of its Increasing Latino Student Success (ILSS) project include: 1) intrusive student advising upon enrollment with specific, individual guidance in the creation of a degree plan; 2) increased focus on Core Completer Certificates that indicate a student has completed all core requirements for their field of study; 3) revisions to articulation agreements with partnering institutions; and 4) expansion of support services geared toward degree attainment and career readiness.

    Projected outcome: These components will allow SWTJC to provide affordable, accessible educational opportunities and to create a culture of success resulting in a 15 percent increase in graduation and transfer rates throughout the course of the grant period.


    About Lumina Foundation: Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation, is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college–especially 21st century students: low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Lumina’s goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues Goal 2025 in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change. For more information, log on to

    Media contacts:

    Lucia Anderson
    Lumina Foundation Communications Officer

    Adam Shapiro
    Lipman Hearne

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