Monday, October 15 , 2018, 1:25 pm | Fair 75º

 
 
 
 

CSU Channel Islands Named One of ‘Top 50 Colleges for Hispanic Students’

CSU Channel Islands has been named one of the nation’s top universities for Hispanic students by BestColleges.com, an independent, research-based college-planning website for students and families.

CI ranked 19th on the website’s list of the “Top 50 Colleges for Hispanic Students.” To compile the rankings, BestColleges.com evaluated data from the National Center for Education Statistics at U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IPEDS and College Navigator) against data from the 242 schools in the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

The study then examined factors that enhance the experiences of Hispanic students, including the percentage of Hispanic students enrolled; acceptance, retention and graduation rates; tuition, financial aid and scholarship programs; and degree programs, services, and cultural resources offered for Hispanic students. Schools that excelled in all areas received the highest rankings.

“Many Hispanic students are the first in their families to attend college, so it is important for them to choose the right school – one with a support system that will help them navigate degrees, financial aid, and their school and social obligations,” the BestColleges.com report states. “To make the transition from high school to college, many students may be looking for ‘Hispanic friendly’ schools. … Each school on our list boasts a cultural center, degree programs or scholarships dedicated to enhancing the experiences of Hispanic students.”

The report cites CI’s Chicana/o Studies program, multicultural mission and curriculum, abundant cultural events and forums, and high percentage of Hispanic students admitted, enrolled, retained and graduated among its enticements. In 2012, CI had a Hispanic student enrollment of 37 percent.

On a national level, Hispanic students are the fastest-growing college-going population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2012, 49 percent of Hispanic high school graduates enrolled at a postsecondary public institution, surpassing white student enrollment rates for the first time. Since 1996, Hispanic enrollment in colleges and universities has increased 240 percent. With one-fourth of all U.S. public school students now identified as Hispanic, that trend is expected to grow.

However, despite such records, Latinos still lag behind other groups in completing college. In 2012, only 14.5 percent of Latinos ages 25 and older had earned a bachelor’s degree.

As a Hispanic Serving Institution focused on student success, CI offers a number of programs designed to help underserved minorities thrive in higher education. Through federal Title V grant-funded programs such as Projects ACCESO, ISLAS, VISTA, ASCENCION and ALAS, CI offers a range of services, including peer and faculty mentoring, focused learning communities, readiness programs, orientations, scholarships, curriculum and professional development, and outreach to local schools and community colleges.

“Our goal is to have a campus that reflects our community and empowers it to flourish through the students we educate, the people we employ, and the programs and services we offer,” CI President Richard Rush said. “At CI, we are fortunate to have dedicated faculty, staff, students, and community partners who make this vision a reality. This recognition from BestColleges.com validates that our team efforts are working to create greater opportunities and outcomes for underserved students.”

Vanessa Bahena, CI’s student body president, said the recognition is well-deserved.

“As a first-generation Hispanic student, I can attest to the supportive atmosphere and extensive resources that CI provides to ensure that we achieve our highest potential,” Bahena said. “My four years here have been eye-opening and empowering beyond my wildest dreams, enabling my transformation from an anxious first-year student to an active campus leader. CI has made a change in me, my family, and my community. It is a gem of a public university that brings out the best in its students.”

Click here to view the rankings.

— Nancy Gill is the director of communication for CSU Channel Islands.

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