Campus: Long Beach -- October 16, 2006

CSULB Receives U.S. Department of Education Grant Under Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program

California State University, Long Beach has been awarded a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education through its Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program. The university will receive $574,995 annually for five years to address academic and professional obstacles often experienced by Latino students.

The resources will allow Cal State Long Beach to support activities in three specific areas: improvement in academic advising and mentoring opportunities for Latino students; professional development opportunities for faculty and staff to develop more culturally relevant advising and instructional strategies for Latino students; and enhancement of institutional research capabilities to better measure and follow Latino student academic progress.

CSULB has experienced a steady increase in the enrollment of Latino undergraduate students, growing from 6,323 in 2001 to 7,496 in 2005. Through its various campus initiatives, the university also has recently improved its one-year retention rates for both first-time freshmen and transfer Latino students from 80 percent and 91.3 percent, respectively. Furthermore, the six-year graduation rates for first-time Latino freshmen and four-year graduation rates for transfer Latino students improved by 15 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively, during the five-year period that began in 1999.

These increases have helped CSULB's graduation rates for Latino students exceed that of the national average for public universities.

According to CSULB President F. King Alexander, "This grant will further allow us to make continued strides in addressing the academic and professional success of our Latino students."

Overall, the Long Beach campus was one of 33 colleges and universities across the United States and Puerto Rico receiving the Title V grants, and the only four-year institution in California. The CSULB project, titled "Mi Casa, Mi Universidad: Building a Culture and Practice of Latino Student Success at California State University, Long Beach," is led by co-principal investigators Britt Rios-Ellis and Linda Tiggs-Taylor.

"We presented a number of innovative strategies within our proposal, but one that stood out in our minds was a proposal to recruit, educate and empower a cohort of students as "near-peer mentors" or 'promotores de educación' to mentor Latino students within the university," explained the co-principals. "High achieving, first generation-educated role models will be employed at the university to provide tutoring, mentoring and university-specific service guidance to Latino student peers. The Mi Casa: Mi Universidad project will promote strategies to conduct outreach to prospective Latino students and their families, sending a welcoming message regarding the positive impact higher education can have on their futures."

A Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) is defined as a non-profit institution that has at least 25 percent Hispanic full-time equivalent enrollment and, of that Hispanic enrollment at least 50 percent are low income. CSULB recently obtained its HSI eligibility status in fall 2005 when 8,663 Latino students enrolled at the campus, representing 25.1 percent of undergraduate and graduate students.

Grants are awarded to HSIs to expand educational opportunities for, and improve the academic attainment of, Hispanic students. In addition, they are designed to enhance the academic offerings, program quality and institutional stability of colleges and universities that are educating the majority of Latino college students and other low-income individuals completing post-secondary degrees.

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