College awarded grant to aid Hispanic students

Ricky Soltero

The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded San Diego City College a $3.1 million Title V grant to bolster services benefiting Hispanic students.

“This grant is a coup for many students at City College since it will provide both educational opportunities and support for students to succeed,” San Diego Community College District Chancellor Constance Carroll said in an e-mail interview.

“Not everyone in America enjoys a privileged life, so it is important for community college districts like ours to reach out to those who have disadvantages,” Carroll added. “That way, everybody wins.”

The Title V grant will give City College the opportunity to expand existing programs and develop new ones. Goals have been set to take advantage of the five-year Title V grant. Plans include increasing assistance and academic support for students to help students clarify their educational and career goals.

Among the strategies to be enhanced and developed is the First Year Experience program, which is designed to provide advice and guidance through the first year of college so students acquire the skills necessary to succeed.

“The notion of the grant is to improve the college overall,” said Peter White, vice president of student services. “This grant will allow us to do a lot of things efficiently for students.”

City College President Terrence Burgess also reacted warmly to the award. “I am delighted that we have prevailed in this incredibly competitive process and that we will be able to assist our students to achieve their educational goals with enhanced support services over the next five years,” Burgess said.

Title V grants are awarded to Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) to provide assistance to Hispanic students as well as first-generation and low-income students.

For a college or university to qualify as an HSI, at least 25 percent of full-time undergraduates must be Hispanic. At City College, 37 percent of students are of Hispanic descent.

Award were also granted to 99 other colleges and universities across the country. In the last 10 years, City College has received the grant once before.

Formal plans for the use of the five-year grant are not yet set in stone but should see the light of day in summer or fall 2011.