Story Diversity

CSU and PIQE Partnership Leads to ‘Huge and Impactful’ Results for Thousands of Parents and Students

Christianne Salvador


​The Granados family (L to R: Ernesto, Michelle, Graciela, and Graciela) with Chancellor White at the 10-year celebration of CSU-PIQE partnership on February 22, 2017.


Academic success begins at home. This is the idea behind the 10-year partnership between the California State University and the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), which aims to educate parents about the importance of higher education. Through the partnership, more than 80,000 parents have gained the tools and knowledge to help their children go to college and better support their academic success. On February 22, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White, joined by CSU leadership staff and campus presidents, celebrated the successful partnership alongside PIQE leaders and the program's co-founder, Dr. Alberto Ochoa.

"The CSU-PIQE partnership has created a college-going culture in many of California's low-income communities," said Ochoa. "Through the CSU's support, we have been able to establish a community of trust between parents, teachers and school administrators. Parents have become empowered to support their children in the pursuit of a college education."

Since 2006, the CSU has been granting $25,000 annually to each of its 23 campuses to partner with their local PIQE office and serve five schools in the surrounding area. The collaboration increases college readiness through a nine-week parent engagement and training program. Parents are taught how to support their children's academic success by understanding that college readiness begins at home. They gain understanding of high school graduation requirements and college admission requirements, as well as college eligibility and financial aid. Parents are also exposed to CSU's Early Assessment Program and Early Start to ensure students are prepared for the rigors of college.

In the past decade, the CSU has invested $5.75 million of its general fund to the partnership, impacting the lives of 240,000 children. Parent engagement classes were offered at an annual average of 125 public schools throughout California, serving about 8,000 parents. At its inception, the program specifically targeted Latino communities, with Latinos making up more than 90 percent of its participants today. The program has since evolved and has been offered in 16 languages to capture parents from underserved communities.

The CSU-PIQE collaboration is instrumental in reaching the goals of Graduation Initiative 2025 - an effort to address California's workforce demands for more bachelor's degree holders. The CSU has committed to adding 500,000 more degree holders by 2025 through a series of ambitious objectives, including the elimination of the achievement gap between its underserved students and their peers.

"We must ensure that all students, regardless of background, status or circumstance, have the same opportunities to succeed as their peers," said Chancellor White. "Longitudinal studies have shown that the children of parents that graduated from the PIQE program end up enrolling in postsecondary education after the 12th grade at higher rates than their peers. That's both huge and impactful."

Studies have also shown that PIQE students perform at higher levels on the California State Test (CST), as well as on standardized math and English tests, when compared to their peers. PIQE students have lower rates of truancy, disciplinary problems and absenteeism. Children of PIQE parent graduates have a higher percentage of high school graduates than their peers.

By significantly increasing knowledge of K-12 and college systems, PIQE enables parents to become champion advocates for student success not only in their homes but in their community. Information they receive in the program is spread to their extended families and social circles. Graciela Granados, a graduate of the PIQE program, spoke at the CSU-PIQE celebration event about how the program has enabled her to become a college advocate and influence other parents to take an active role in their children's academic success.

"Prior to PIQE, my husband and I did not know what a GPA or FAFSA was and how we were going to pay for college," said Granados. "Today, in my community, I'm known as the lady who can help students get to college. Parents and students alike ask for my advice. I advise parents to get involved and participate in their children's education. Our children should know that college is a requirement, not an option."

Granados' fourth and youngest daughter, also named Graciela, is a first-year student at CSU Dominguez Hills. She said the parent training program has made a life-changing impact on her family.

"After completing the program, my parents weren't afraid of mine and my sisters' academic ambitions and they felt more confident about guiding us directly to a four-year university," said the younger Granados. "When my aunts and uncles told my cousins that they didn't have the money or information to send them to college, my parents stepped in to support. Thanks to my parents' guidance and advice, six of my cousins are now in college too."

Wednesday's celebration closed with a message from CSU Fullerton President Mildred García, who pointed out that everyone who has taken part in the program plays a role in increasing the number of college-educated Californians through advocacy and collaboration.

"As we work in partnership, we are bringing in more champions across California to ensure that all students will get a college degree," said García. "You are all champions within your community, and we at the CSU are dedicated to working with you and we know that it begins at home."

For more information on the CSU-PIQE partnership, please click here.

Graduation Initiative; Underrepresented Communities