California Baptist University is the recipient of a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the launch of a new program aimed at improving higher education outcomes for Hispanic and low-income students.
“Preparados para el Exito,” translated “Prepared for Success,” is a five-year program to provide support for the university’s growing Hispanic population, half of whom are commuters, to help improve retention and degree completion rates.
“CBU’s goal is to create conditions for success,” said Charles Sands, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Through the development of additional support and engagement opportunities, we can improve success rates among Hispanic students and begin to close equity gaps in student learning and success.”
Preparados para el Exito will concentrate on two areas: commuter engagement and pre-nursing success, by which CBU aims to improve enrollment, retention and graduation rates for Hispanic and low-income students.
A commuter engagement center and peer mentorship program will provide commuter students with academic and “wraparound” services to integrate them more fully into university life.
One of the largest groups of commuter students at CBU are in the pre-nursing program. In fall 2022 more than half of pre-nursing students were Hispanic and 70% were commuters. Due to the rigorous demands of a pre-nursing degree, the program experienced a higher rate of dropouts and migrations to other majors during the first two years of study.
With the help of the grant, CBU will establish comprehensive support services including a summer bridge program, academic success coaches, tutoring and advisors to support pre-nursing students.
“At CBU we believe every student has a purpose, and the funding secured from the Department of Education will significantly contribute to Hispanic and low-income students completing their degrees and going on to impact the world,” noted Paul Eldridge, vice president for university advancement. “We look forward to the outcomes of this program on the futures of these students, especially those within the nursing degree, for which there is great demand in our region.”
The objectives of Preparados para el Exito align with CBU’s strategic plan, which includes closing equity gaps in student learning and success, obtaining funding to address the Hispanic student achievement gap, implementing faculty training and resources, and increasing under-represented minority students’ perceptions of belonging on campus.
CBU was designated a Hispanic Serving Institution in 2011, and in fall 2022 more than 40% of the student population was Hispanic.