14:17 PM

South Texas College joins initiative to increase degree attainment among adult Latino students

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) in partnership with Excelencia in Education have announced an Adult Learner 360 Grant in the amount of $40,000 awarded to South Texas College (STC) in September.

Funded by The Kresge Foundation, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation, and Affiliates and Greater Texas Foundation, the initiative seeks to provide Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) with tools and support in order to implement researched-based practices that will improve outcomes for growing populations of adult Latino students.

The grant will enable STC to participate in a three-year initiative to examine how HSIs can better serve their adult students.

“With this project, STC will collaborate with CAEL, Excelencia in Education, and 15 other HSIs across the nation in developing innovative solutions aimed at increasing success for the targeted population,” said Fernando Chapa, STC Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Assessment and Accreditation.

The resulting Adult Learner 360 Academy will be a solution for scaling and sustaining learner success for adult Hispanic students.

Over the last decade, the percentage of younger Latino students who earned a college credential has increased by 9.4 percent, but attainment among adult Latino students has fallen behind, according to the Center for American Progress citing numbers from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Only 22.7 percent of Hispanics aged 25 or older have attained an associate's degree or higher, compared to 42.8 percent of their white peers. As an increasing number of today's careers demand degrees and credentials, this disparity is having disastrous consequences on career advancement prospects for Latinos.

“This initiative will allow STC to work in a cohort model to serve adult Hispanic students, create initiatives that address identified weaknesses of the institution in serving this student population, and then assess the actual impact the initiatives had on the student population,” Chapa said.

“Before even considering which initiative the college will undertake as part of the grant, STC will first examine institutional data and survey responses from the targeted population to ensure initiatives and intended results are deliberate and closely aligned to student needs.”