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FOUR YEAR, 600K, GRANT-FUNDED PROJECT LAUNCHED TO INCREASE LATINO GRADUATION RATES IN SOUTHEAST GEORGIA
December 9, 2011
Latinos are the fastest-growing student population in America and a new effort is now focused on leveraging the critical connection between their educational attainment and the future of our national economy. Today, Lumina Foundation launches a collaborative partnership designed to strengthen ventures in key metropolitan areas that show promise in improving the postsecondary attainment of 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 “place-based efforts” that capitalize on their local talents and ingenuity.
One of the participating organizations is Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah. It will partner with Savannah State University and Savannah Technical College, and the following community partners: Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Junior Achievement, YMCA of Coastal Georgia, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Coastal Empire, Live Oak Migrant Education Agency and Wells Fargo Bank. They will execute CAMINO (College Access Mentoring Information and Outreach) to provide: 1) a pre-college pipeline program that serves students in the 9th–12th grades; 2) a parent engagement program for Latino parents of first-generation college students; 3) enhanced college support services for Latino students attending the three participating colleges and universities; and 4) a targeted marketing, recruitment and admissions counseling efforts to reach older Latino students who have earned some college credit but lack a degree.
The projected outcome is to double the percentage of Latino students graduating from the three participating higher education institutions in Southeast Georgia.
“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 Jamie Merisotis. “Through these partnerships, we aim to build bridges among leadership groups already working to improve Latino college student success.”
"Armstrong is pleased to take on this role and bring together our community partners in a national effort to increase access to higher education for Latinos," said Armstrong President Linda Bleicken. "We are honored that Lumina Foundation chose to select Armstrong for this vital initiative, and we look forward to continuing this work that ultimately changes lives and creates a positive impact on our region."
Grant support through the Latino program will provide an array of services to Latino students and families, including training in financial literacy, help with K12-to-college transfer and transition issues, and improved developmental courses designed to move students more efficiently toward credit-bearing courses. After extensive consultation with national, regional and local experts in philanthropy, Latino education, higher education and community engagement, Lumina Foundation has invited the grantees to focus on:
• Better data to drive decisions
• Connecting to the community
• Working in partnership
• Measuring all of these efforts
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.
“Latinos are emblematic of today’s 21st century student,” said Merisotis. “They are largely first-generation college students — many of whom are working adults, with family responsibilities who oftentimes begin their postsecondary education in community colleges. Increasing the access and degree attainment rates of Latinos is critical and our hope is that Latino Student Success will provide catalytic support that can have a positive impact on making all 21st century students more successful.”
“A country’s most precious resource is its human resource. The Latino Student Success partnerships and their supporters will help build the country’s capacity to effectively meet the educational needs of the U.S. Latino community, and thus strengthen America’s bright future,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. “We look forward to learning from their progress and to helping advance their promising practices.”
About Lumina Foundation: Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation, is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college—especially 21st century students: low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Lumina’s goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues Goal 2025 in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change. For more information, log on to www.luminafoundation.org.