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Five-year grant helps SRJC educate Latinx students

Five-year grant will help prepare more Latinx students for degrees and transfer|

Santa Rosa Junior College has been named a recipient of the new Title V HSI grant program, “Lanzamiento,” which begins on Oct. 1. It is a five-year award of $2.8 million from the US Department of Education, with $492,766 allocated in the initial grant year.

SRJC was eligible to apply for the HSI designation because at least 25% of its credit student body identifies as Latinx. This award is SRJC’s second Title V HSI grant initiative. The first, “META4,” began in 2014 and closes at the end of September 2020.

SRJC Dean of Language Arts and Academic Foundations Dr. Robert Holcomb explained that “Lanzamiento” is a Spanish word meaning “launch” or “propel.” This name was chosen for the grant because it symbolizes institutional transformation for a more equitable launch toward educational outcomes for the target population. When “Lanzamiento” is fully implemented, it will address the institutional challenges that pose roadblocks to success for Latinx students.

“The Lanzamiento initiative is designed to engage and support Latinx students, who have been historically underserved in higher education, toward bold academic goals and limitless life ambitions,” Holcomb said. “These funds will directly support the success of our growing Latinx community at SRJC.”

The goals of Lanziamento include increasing access, academic preparedness and college readiness, improving success through higher course completion and success rates, and promoting increased transfers, degrees, and/or certificate completion among Latinx and low-income students.

“This new grant initiative will help more Latinx and low-income students obtain degrees and transfer to four-year universities, preparing them for advanced fields of study and successful careers,” SRJC President Frank Chong said.

SRJC history instructor Laura Larqué said that she is very happy that SRJC was chosen to receive the HSI grant again. “Through HSI, we want to contribute to the cultural identity enhancement of the student so when he/she transfers, the student will have built a strong cultural identity along with an excellent academic preparation,” she said.

SRJC plans to implement a number of initiatives using these grant funds, including comprehensive pre-matriculation and onboarding through dual enrollment at high schools, bilingual financial aid outreach, culturally responsive college navigation orientation and mental health services, and enhanced instructional approaches including HSI-designated cross-disciplinary course sections and academic tracks. SRJC also plans to provide learning support resources including course-specific workshops, integrated tutoring, peer coaching and faculty fellowship, and a comprehensive transfer and completion initiative, designed to facilitate the student’s journey from entering college through graduation.

“So proud that our district’s own Santa Rosa Junior College has been awarded a federal grant of nearly $3 million to help support the local Latinx student population. This grant will help the school in its work increasing access and academic preparedness so that students in our community are better able to succeed in school and their careers beyond graduation and build a strong cultural identity for Latinx students on campus,” said United States Congressman Mike Thompson, who represents California’s fifth congressional district. “SRJC continues to be a beacon of hope for our community and I’m proud to celebrate this grant award.”

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