11 Higher Ed Institutions Uniting to Boost Minority Students’ Grad Rates

Dr. Mildred García, president of California State University, Fullerton, is leading the network.

Eleven institutions of higher education are joining an Education Trust-led initiative meant to improve graduation rates for underrepresented minority students, the Education Trust announced Thursday.

The purpose of the initiative — called OASIS, an acronym for Optimizing Academic Success and Institutional Strategy — is meant to improve graduation rates for minority students.

The six-year graduation rates for White students are more than 20 points greater than for African American students and 11 points greater than for Latino students, according to the Education Trust — a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on improving educational outcomes for low-income and minority students.

“To help more students achieve their educational dreams, colleges must transform their practices to better serve their students,” said Bonita J. Brown, director of higher education practice at Ed Trust.

“The OASIS institutions are tackling that challenge head on,” Brown said.

Senior leaders from schools in the OASIS network will collaborate to explore best practices in student success in areas that range from student advising to developmental math interventions and using data to improve outcomes. A longer-range goal is to share their experiences and lessons learned with the higher education community.

The network includes:

          • Four historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCUs: Florida A&M University; North Carolina A&T State University; North Carolina Central University; and Morgan State University.

          • Six Hispanic Serving Institutions, or HSIs: California State University, Fresno; California State University, Fullerton; Florida International University; Queens College, City University of New York; The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; and University of Houston.

           • The University of Memphis, an urban research institution that serves a large number of minority students.

The network is being convened by Education Trust with support from the Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that focuses on expanding postsecondary success.

The network is being chaired by Dr. Mildred García, president of California State University, Fullerton.