City College gets $2.6 million to ensure Latino success


One of the goals of the new grant is to improve the graduation rate of Latino students at City College. Photo courtey of SDCCD

By Gabe Rivera

The San Diego Community College District announced that City College has been awarded a $2.6 million grant to help boost graduation and course completion rates by Hispanic students.

The district’s Board of Trustees accepted the grant at its Sept. 22 meeting.

The grant is funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Title V Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program. These institutions must have at least one-quarter Latino student population to qualify for the grant. Hispanic enrollment at City College has grown from 28 percent in 2003 to 50 percent in 2016, and more than one-third are first-generation college students.

The grant will assist in providing help for students with low incomes, or if they are the first in their family to attend college.

“San Diego City College is an innovative college, and we look forward to implementing this grant to help our students achieve their goals,” said City College interim President Denise Whisenhunt.

According to the district, the money will pay for:

– Up to four new Cultural Competency Centers on campus, also known as cultural hubs, which where students, faculty, and staff can help build a stronger sense of community through cultural activities and social justice projects. The centers also will be a place where all students can form study groups, work on projects, and have a centralized meeting/sharing space.

– New programs to reduce the time it takes for students to complete basic skills courses that do not count toward college credit. Studies show the chances a student continues their college education decreases with each additional basic skills course that is required.

– Development of a peer support network for at-risk students. This will include training peer mentors to provide academic guidance and supplemental instruction.

– A professional development program leading to more cultural awareness among faculty and staff, and redesigned courses to incorporate culturally sensitive assignments into the classroom.

– A new personal growth course to explore differences between ethnicity and race and review theories related to integration, sense of belonging, validation, motivation, self-efficacy and college identity.

City College expects to see success rates in basic skills courses improve by at least five percentage points by the end of the five-year grant period, higher success rates in historically difficult courses, and improved retention rates.