Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) announced that the U.S. Department of Education has awarded two grants to California Lutheran University totaling more than $6 million over five years through the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program. This funding will help increase transfer, retention, and degree-completion rates for students who are Latino, low-income, or the first in their family to attend college and to address the shortage of Latino teachers.
“We build stronger communities and a stronger economy when we ensure that everyone has the opportunity to obtain a higher education and that our universities have a diverse faculty and student body,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “I am pleased to announce that Cal Lutheran will receive these grants, which will not only allow them to partner with Moorpark College and enrich our local university system, but will also give local students – especially those who are all too often left behind – the chance to harness their abilities and get on the path for higher education success.”
The first grant provides Cal Lutheran with $3.75 million over five years to fund a joint project with Moorpark College aimed at increasing transfer, retention, and degree-completion rates for students who are Latino, low-income, or the first in their family to attend college. The two institutions of higher education will work together to redesign and revamp up to 50 classes to incorporate more active- and experiential-learning opportunities and content that is culturally relevant to students who are underrepresented in higher education. They will also launch a transfer center and a cross-campus mentoring program and enhance advising and career development services.
“This grant is all about student success,” said Cal Lutheran Provost Leanne Neilson. “It gives us an opportunity to work with Moorpark College to increase transfer rates and help Latina/o and low-income students complete their bachelor’s degrees.”
The second grant provides Cal Lutheran with $2.75 million over five years to address the shortage of Latino teachers by creating a pre-credential program for Latino students and others who want to become teachers, enhancing undergraduate advising, and hiring an outreach coordinator and math and writing specialists. Cal Lutheran will also use the funding to organize events and activities for kindergarten through 12th-grade students, their families, community college students, teachers, and community members to stimulate interest in teaching.
“This project will address one of the most pressing needs in teacher education – diversification of the candidate pool,” said Michael R. Hillis, dean of Cal Lutheran’s Graduate School of Education.