SAN LUIS OBISPO – Cuesta College has been named a 2021 Equity Champion for Excellence after demonstrating exemplary work in supporting Latinx students on their path to completing a bachelor’s degree. The Campaign for College Opportunity, a nonprofit California education advocacy and policy organization, recognized Cuesta College at its annual “Champions of Higher Education for Excellence in Transfer” virtual celebration on Nov. 16.

“I am thrilled to accept this recognition on behalf of our faculty and staff whose tireless work and dedication help guide the success of our Latinx students,” said Dr. Jill Stearns, Superintendent/President. “Cuesta College remains committed to closing gaps in equity and student achievement and will continue to create opportunities and programs to ensure that our students reach their educational goals.”

According to the Campaign, Cuesta College was honored among dozens of leading California community colleges and California State Universities for demonstrating that “a high proportion of degree or transfer seeking Latinx students received an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) in the 2019-2020 academic year.” The ADT allows students who meet minimum eligibility requirements guaranteed admission to a CSU campus.

In the 2019-20 academic year, Cuesta College had 4,432 Latinx students, representing 34.5% of the student population. Awarded to Latinx students were 193 Associate of Arts or Science Degrees for Transfer (AAT/AST), representing 33% of the total awarded AAT/ASTs.

In Fall 2020, 189 Latinx students from Cuesta College were admitted to a California State University (CSU). The top five CSU campuses for Cuesta College’s Latinx students transferred to were:

1.     Cal Poly SLO: 56 students (47%)

2.     San Jose State: 11 students (9%)

3.     Fresno State: 8 students (7%)

4.     Sacramento State: 7 students (6%)

5.     Chico State: 6 students (5%)

Due to racial equity gaps that persist in transfer rates between Latinx and Black students and their peers, the Campaign developed an equity measure that assesses how these students access and earn an ADT relative to the campus average.

“Thanks to these institutions’ implementation of the Associate Degree for Transfer, thousands of students achieve their goal to cross the graduation stage every year,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity. “This year’s Champions are shining examples of what happens when colleges and universities embrace policy that supports California students and work intentionally to close racial equity gaps.”

To learn more about how the honorees are selected, please click here.