Campus: San Diego -- August 15, 2006

First 'Compact for Success' Class Highlights SDSU's Incoming Students for Fall 2006

When Wilfred Paloma first heard about the Compact for Success, he was just 12 years old, and he wasn't exactly thinking about college.

"I didn't have a realistic view of what it took to get into college," said Paloma, a first-generation college student.

But the Compact for Success quickly got him on track. Now, Paloma and his Sweetwater Union High School District classmates will represent the Compact for Success program's first students to reach college.

Paloma, who graduated from Montgomery High School with a standout 4.2 grade point average, is one of approximately 650 Sweetwater students expected to enroll for the fall semester at SDSU when classes start August 28. That is a 78 percent increase compared to the number of Sweetwater graduates who enrolled as freshmen at SDSU last fall.

The Compact, a comprehensive partnership founded in 1998 between SDSU and the Sweetwater Union High School District, guarantees admission to SDSU for any student from the South County district who meets program benchmarks.

Beginning in seventh grade, the Compact promotes educational "roadmaps" of college requirements to students and their parents. It also includes programs to enhance the college-prep curriculum at district schools. The goal is to increase the number of college-bound students from the district, one of the most diverse in California.

Now planning to study communications and advertising, Paloma said the Compact made a huge difference to him and many of his fellow students.

"Since seventh grade, we were reminded what it would take to get into SDSU," said Paloma, who also received a Presidential Diversity Scholarship from SDSU, which will cover nearly all of his student fees for four years. "It eliminated the confusion about college applications and requirements and let us focus on doing our best in school."

SDSU President Stephen L. Weber lauded Sweetwater's efforts to advance the Compact for Success to this point. He said the partnership is a model for how universities and communities can work together to enhance access to higher education for large numbers of diverse students.

"The Compact is important because it reaches a greater number of students, and doesn't target just one small group," Weber said. "It reaches thousands of students and enlists teachers, counselors and parents, who are crucial in supporting these students and making the goal of succeeding at the university part of the enduring fabric of their community."

Weber added that he anticipates the number of Sweetwater students who qualify for higher education and choose to enroll at SDSU will increase as the Compact matures. The Compact for Success partnership will continue with Sweetwater until at least 2012.

The Compact doesn't end when the Sweetwater students step onto SDSU's campus. Many qualified to be "Compact Scholars," which entitles them to participate in programs and activities to support their academic and student involvement on campus. Some will also receive scholarships supplied by the Sweetwater Education Foundation. The foundation a non-profit organization dedicated to securing private donors, such as the Ellis Foundation and the Stensrud Foundation, for the Compact Scholars.

"We don't just want to get these students in the door. We want to make sure they receive the support they need to give them the best possible chance to thrive and get their degree," said Gonzalo Rojas, who helps run the Compact as SDSU's Director of Collaborative Programs.

Overall, SDSU will welcome its largest cohort of new undergraduates in university history this fall. More than 5,000 first-time freshmen and more than 4,000 transfer students are expected to enroll. SDSU received a record 52,000 undergraduate applications for this semester.

SDSU officials expect the overall quality and diversity of these incoming students to remain very high. The average GPA and SAT score for projected first-time freshmen enrollees was 3.5 and 1046, respectively. Also, 43.5 percent of the admitted first-time freshmen are from historically underrepresented ethnic groups, up from 42.2 percent of admitted first-time freshmen in fall 2005.

Contact: Gina Speciale, (619) 594-4563 office; (619) 813-3581 cell,

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