LONG BEACH - Long Beach City College in partnership with Cal State Long Beach and the Long Beach Unified School has launched a new program designed to improve success for Latinos in higher education.

The college's Latino Student Success Institute is now searching for community organizations that are interested in participating to help improve graduation rates for Latinos. The program will provide scholarship funding for up to four members of community organizations who will participate in nine learning sessions from February to November.

Participants will receive a certificate in Latino cultural competency from the college's Center for Training and Professional Development.

The program includes materials and supplies for all nine sessions, access to special webinars and academic resources, and presentations from faculty and experts on issues facing Latinos.

LBCC's efforts come at a time when many Latino students are struggling in higher education. A study released last year by the California-based Campaign for College Opportunity found that the college transfer rate for Latino students is about half that of white students - 14 percent compared with 28 percent.

And while Latino students make up almost half of California's college-age population (age 18 to 24), they remain critically underrepresented in the state's four-year universities.


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The study found that just two out of 10 Latino students in community college complete an associate degree or transfer after six years, compared to 37 percent of whites.

At LBCC, nearly half of all students are Latino.

The college's new program is made possible by a grant from the Lumina Foundation and has been developed in partnership with the Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership, Building Health Communities, Centro CHA, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the Campaign for College Opportunity and the City of Long Beach.

Organizations interested in applying should contact Vicki Lerch at vlerch@lbcc.edu or call 562-938-4140. Applications and additional information is available at www.lbcc.edu/latinoinstitute

kelly.puente@presstelegram.com, 562-714-2181