City College awarded $2.6M to boost Latino graduation rates

City College

SAN DIEGO — City College was awarded a $2.6 million federal grant to boost graduation and course completion rates by Hispanic students, the San Diego Community College District announced Friday.

The five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education is for schools in which Hispanics make up at least one-quarter of the student body, and which offer programs to help those with low incomes, or are the first in their family to attend college. Nearly half the students at City are Hispanic and more than one-third are first-generation college students, according to the district.

“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 SDCCD, the money will pay for:

  • cultural hubs where Hispanic students can take part in cultural activities and social justice projects;
  • new programs to reduce the time it takes for students to complete basic skills courses that do not count toward college credit;
  • development of a peer support network for at-risk students that will include training peer mentors to provide academic guidance and supplemental instruction;
  • a professional development program to create more cultural awareness among faculty and staff; and
  • redesigned courses to be more culturally appropriate.

By the end of the five-year grant, school officials hope to increase success rates in basic skills courses by 5 percent, and improve outcomes in more difficult courses and retain more students.