MiraCosta College has been awarded a $3 million federal grant that will increase academic and social supports for Latinx students and better connect their education as a pathway to high-demand careers. The MiraCosta College Foundation has also stepped up to match a portion of the annual grant funds to create a longer-lasting endowment to ensure the grant will have impact beyond its five-year term.
“More than 40 percent of MiraCosta College’s 20,000 students are Latinx, and 53.8 percent are economically disadvantaged. Studies show that Latinx students are less likely to succeed in their classes or complete the courses needed to earn an associate degree. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the issue, with the enrollment of Latinx students decreasing more than 17 percent from pre-pandemic times,” explains Title V Project Director and Dean of Admissions and Student Support Dr. Freddy Ramirez.
The Title V grant from the U.S. Department of Education will be used over the next five years. The grants are awarded to colleges and universities that have been designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions based on their enrollment of Latinx students.
“With this grant, we will further develop an institutional culture at MiraCosta College that honors the strengths, experiences, and needs of Latinx students,” said Sunita V. Cooke, superintendent/president of MiraCosta College. “We will reinforce our message to students--no matter your goals, MiraCosta College has a path to upward mobility for you, your family, and your community.”
Grant funds will be used to foster a positive, inclusive, and identity-safe environment for Latinx and other underserved students. Three main strategies to be employed include:
• Introduce career concepts early in a student’s academic career so they can make informed decisions about their education and career goals. Information about careers and salary outlook will be as much of a student’s onboarding process as the list of classes they need to take.
• Improving the network of care for Latinx students beyond just academic supports.
• Shift the culture of MiraCosta College to embrace its identity as a Hispanic Serving Institution and increase diversity and the cultural competence of the college’s faculty and staff.
The college has listed specific goals to be reached by 2027 related to enrollment of Latinx students, academic success, program completion, and reducing food and housing insecurities. The goals include increasing the percentage of Latinx students who pass their courses from 62 percent to 70 percent and increasing the number of Latinx students who stay in college from fall to spring from 75 percent to 80 percent in five years.
MiraCosta College also plans to use the grant funds to support paid internships that allow Latinx students to gain experience and network in their chosen career. The paid internships allow low-income students to take advantage of internships who might otherwise need to have a job to support themselves while in college.
About MiraCosta College
The MiraCosta Community College District has served the coastal North San Diego County area for over 88 years. More than 19,000 credit students annually in over 80 disciplines enroll in associate degrees, university transfer and workforce readiness certificate programs. The college also serves over 7,000 students a wide spectrum of educational needs in the region ranging from programs for adult education, community education, basic skills, and English as a Second Language (ESL) to a California Community College pilot program offering the nation’s first baccalaureate degree in biomanufacturing. As a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), veteran and military supportive institution, and Achieving the Dream Leader College, MiraCosta College fosters the academic and holistic success of its diverse learners within a caring and equitable environment to strengthen the educational, economic, cultural, and social well-being of the communities it serves. MiraCosta College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).