New Paltz selected as one of 10 state schools nationwide for Hispanic student success

NEW PALTZ — The State University of New York at New Paltz has been selected by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) as an example of success in achieving high graduation rates for Hispanic students.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities worked with the Education Trust to review the graduation rates of all 435 of its member institutions and identified 10 of the most successful for a follow-up study. New Paltz is among five that significantly narrowed the gap between Hispanic and non-minority graduation rates. The follow-up study will attempt to identify what contributes to Hispanic student success at these colleges and universities. An AASCU study team will visit New Paltz in March 2007 to gather information.

“This selection is a tribute to the importance our faculty and staff have placed on promoting retention and achievement of all members of our diverse student body,” said David Lavallee, provost of SUNY New Paltz.

Several of the programs that have contributed to New Paltz’s success include: the Educational Opportunity Program (; the Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP) and Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP) (; the Scholar Mentorship Program (; Student Affairs leadership training; and academic advising.

• Winner of a Noel-Levitz Retention Excellence Award (2004), New Paltz’s Educational Opportunity Program is an academic program designed for capable students who, because of inadequate financial resources and academic preparation, have not had the same opportunities as other students to realize their academic potential. With an annual enrollment of more than 500 students, New Paltz’s EOP is one of the largest in the State University of New York system. A personalized, highly structured academic support program, it offers admission to the college and provides academic, personal and social counseling, as well as financial aid advisement.

• AMP is an alliance of two- and four-year SUNY institutions funded by the National Science Foundation with the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minority students completing degrees in the sciences, engineering, mathematics and computer science.

• C-STEP is a program funded by the New York State Department of Education to increase the number of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged undergraduate and graduate students who complete professional or pre-professional programs of study that lead to professional licensure and to careers in mathematics, science, technology and health-related fields.

• Now in its 17th year at New Paltz, the Scholar’s Mentorship Program (SMP) is a networking program for general admission students of color. The program creates a network of both faulty/staff and peer mentors to facilitate an optimal educational experience for African/African American/Caribbean, Asian/South Asian, Latino and Native American students. In 2006 there were 56 faculty/staff mentors from 34 departments or programs and 30 peer mentors. The mentors provide academic advisement, write letters of recommendation and otherwise provide support. Students meet with their mentor at least three times each semester.

• New Paltz also has a high number of minority student club members who gain leadership training coordinated through Student Affairs programming.

The other nine colleges selected by the AASCU include: Adams State College, Alamosa, Colo.; California State University-Chico; CUNY Baruch College; George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.; Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.; Northern Arizona University; Texas State University-San Marcos; The University of Texas at Arlington; and the University of Central Florida.