The Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation works to cultivate a community that supports Latino education. Our aim is to identify and support the key factors that lead to Latino student success.
By supporting effective education policy and promoting awareness of the distinct circumstances that affect first-generation, college-bound Latino students, we will be creating an environment that is inclusive, effective, and sustainable.
One of our most recent endeavors has been to fund the analysis entitled, “From Selectivity to Success: Latinos at Selective Institutions,” which examines the profile of Latino students at the most selective institutions in the U.S. and reviews the institutional efforts at four universities in California to frame a better understanding of factors that might explicitly and intentionally support Latino student success.
Analysis of four of the most selective universities in California, including the University of La Verne, Stanford University, the University of California — Santa Barbara, and the University of California, Berkeley, provide key insights into practices that accelerate Latino student success, including:
Institutional efforts to support Latino students were generally diffused throughout the institution – within disciplines and through ethnic studies offices/centers – rather than centralized in a single office.
Financial aid was used as a critical tool for students’ retention to completion, not just access to the institution.
Institutions increased their recruitment and retention of Latino students through supporting community and alumni efforts targeting Latinos.
Chicano/Latino offices played a significant role in support services and fostering a sense of community for Latino students on campus at two institutions.
Undergraduate research opportunities allowed Latino students to develop research and professional skills, and to be more competitive for post-graduation opportunities at two institutions.
Connections with alumni created support networks for Latino students while enrolled and expanded opportunities to find employment post-graduation.
This research will allow us to work with the educational community to both model and implement these newfound practices at selective higher education institutions.
We are convinced that with the right resources and support at colleges and universities throughout the nation, we can close the Latino achievement gap.