Norco College (NC) is a public, open-access, two-year community college approximately 50 miles east of Los Angeles in the rapidly growing “Inland Empire” region of southern California. The college serves a population of approximately 12,000 students of which 52% are Hispanic. A large number of our students meet the U.S. Dept. of Education’s definition of “at-risk,” meaning they enroll at NC facing a host of barriers to meeting their educational goals. 32% of NC’s students come from low socio-economic backgrounds. The region has a historically low college attainment rate as well with only 6.1% of the overall and 4.5% the Hispanic population successfully completing a bachelor’s or higher degree.
As the local community college, Norco College is poised to address these inequities by providing low-cost, high-quality, lower division undergraduate education and accelerated pathways for students to graduate and transfer to four-year programs of study.
Nearly 60% of the college’s incoming Hispanic and low-income students identify “transfer to university” as their educational goal. However, nearly 90% of them arrive at NC requiring remediation in mathematics and/or English. Without the necessary skills for academic success the goal of transfer remains elusive; only 9% of Hispanic and low-income students complete the transfer process within six years. Uninformed goal-setting, discouragingly long remediation pathways, lack of critical academic support, and insufficient resources available for traditional and non-traditional college students all contribute to the disheartening levels of success.
The project “Accelerated Pathways to Graduation and Transfer” proposes one activity: developing curriculum design models, support structures, and critical academic services that improve persistence rates and accelerate students’ graduation and/or transfer rates. This activity focuses on four integrated components critical to improving success of non-traditional Hispanic and low-income students as they move through NC’s educational pipeline: (1) develop curriculum models focused on alternative placement and acceleration in English and math for non-traditional students; (2) Increasing access to critical support services to increase persistence; (3) Increasing transfer/completion rates by enhancing Learning Resource Center Staffing & Resources; and (4) Increasing persistence rate by providing professional development for faculty, staff, and administrators on helping students develop non-cognitive skills associated with increased persistence and success.
For more information, please contact the project director, Gustavo Oceguera, Dean, Grants and Student Equity Initiatives firstname.lastname@example.org
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