Nearly $1.7M in grants to be used to boost outcomes for Latino/a students

San Diego Community College District

San Diego City and Mesa colleges have received a combined total of nearly $1.7 million in federal Department of Education grants supporting the academic achievement of Latino/a students as part of the schools’ designations as Hispanic Serving Institutions.

Both City and Mesa colleges are in the fourth year of five-year, grant-funded compacts with the Department of Education. Results are promising: The number of Latino/a students in the San Diego Community College District transferring to a four-year institution was up 60 percent from 2013-14 to 2017-18, and Hispanic students – at 41 percent – comprise the largest segment of the district’s Honors Program population.

Mesa College was awarded a Title III grant of $1,142,706 million – the latest installment in a $5 million award – to help low-income and Hispanic students complete their STEM-related academic goals. One of those goals is helping students transfer to four-year colleges and universities through the use of the Mesa College STEM Center, STEM workshops, tutoring, mentoring, and more. The installment builds on initiatives that include the Latinx Alliance, STEM Conexiones, the Avanza Student Engagement Center, and Proyecto Exito.

“Being designated as an HSI sends a message to Latinx students and community that San Diego Mesa College welcomes them. We are intentionally a Hispanic-Serving Institution,” said Dr. Leticia P. López, Mesa College’s HSI Initiatives program manager. “When students arrive at Mesa, they know that we are here to guide them in drawing upon their rich, deep history, cultural experience, and strengths that will help them achieve success, and by being an HSI we are advancing our institution’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.”

City College is receiving $525,000 toward its five-year Title V grant of $2,625,000 million to see a higher proportion of lower-income and Hispanic students reach their academic goals by redesigning its remedial and personal growth courses, offering culturally competent peer mentoring, and linking students and faculty through professional development opportunities. The money will be used to build on efforts already in place, such as the Students Uplifted By Institutional Reform (¡SUBIR!) Cultural Center, which includes a variety of resources, workshops, and activities.

“Fifty-one percent of the students we serve are Latino/a/x and an overall enrollment for students of color is slightly above 70 percent,” said Dr. Angélica González, City College’s acting Title V activity director. “There is no reason not to be working towards improving the experience and academic success of our majority groups.”

The San Diego Community College District’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to accept the year-four allocations at its September 12 session.

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