Lumina Foundation Partners With LBCC on Program Focusing on Latino Student Success

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Long Beach City College has been selected by the prestigious Lumina Foundation for a major collaborative partnership focused on the student success of Latinos. Latinos are the fastest-growing student population in America and the new effort is focused on leveraging the critical connection between their educational attainment and the future of the national economy.

“If California is going to succeed and remain competitive, we must increase Latino graduation and transfer rates at our community colleges and universities,” said Long Beach City College President Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “Latinos make up the largest population of students at Long Beach City College, and their success is critical to our local and state economy.”

At LBCC, Latinos make up the largest student ethnic group. The college serves almost 11,000 Latino students. However, Latino students who intend to complete a certificate or degree, have a lower completion rate than their white or Asian student peers. The goal of this initiative is to significantly improve completion success rates for 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 Latino student success programs. Long Beach City College is one of two sites selected in California and will receive $600,000 to launch the program.

LBCC will partner with 31 local and state organizations to significantly increase college completions for Latino students through community-wide engagement in the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill and Avalon. LBCC will focus much of its Latino student success efforts on the Long Beach College Promise. Through the College Promise, Long Beach Unified School District administrators and high school teachers work with college faculty and staff to create clear pathways for students to follow as they move from one education institution to another. These pathways prepare LBUSD high school graduates to succeed in college and College Promise students are guaranteed a tuition-free semester at LBCC and preferred admission status to California State University, Long Beach, after completing the transfer requirements. Preliminary reports suggest the College Promise measurably reduces demand for college level remediation, increases student persistence rates and creates financial efficiencies so LBCC can educate more students for less money.

The College Promise has been replicated by numerous colleges and universities throughout California and is cited as a model education partnership by several education organizations and foundations, including the Washington DC based Business Higher Education Forum and the White House Initiative for Excellence in Education for Hispanics.

The projected outcomes at LBCC are an 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.

“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 Jaime Merisotis. “Through these partnerships, we aim to build bridges among leadership groups already working to improve Latino college student success.”

The Lumina Foundation, through a national Goal 2025 movement, 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.

Other participating institutions include Phoenix College in Arizona, Santa Ana College in California, Miami Dade College in Florida, Armstrong Atlantic State University in Georgia, Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Kentucky, University of New Mexico, the Hispanic Federation of New York, Hispanics in Philanthropy in North Carolina, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the San Antonio Education Partnership of Texas, and Southwest Texas Junior College.

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