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Saturday, November 27, 2021

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The college component of the partnership between San Diego State University and the Sweetwater Union High School District is among 20 finalists for the 2020 Examples of Excelencia. The college component of the partnership between San Diego State University and the Sweetwater Union High School District is among 20 finalists for the 2020 Examples of Excelencia.
 


Excelencia in Education Honors SDSU Compact Scholars Program

The program is a national finalist for increasing graduation rates for participating Latinx students.
By Aaron Burgin
 

“Compact Scholars has given me the opportunity to be a part of an amazing community on campus.”

The San Diego State University Compact Scholars Program is receiving national recognition for its success in helping Latinx students to achieve in the classroom and earn their diplomas.

The college component of the partnership between San Diego State University and the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) is among 20 finalists for the 2020 Examples of Excelencia. The annual program from national advocacy group Excelencia in Education identifies and promotes evidence-based practices that promote Latinx student success. Four award winners will be announced Oct. 1.

Compact Scholars provides SUHSD students admitted to the university through the companion Compact for Success program (seventh grade through 12th grade) with freshmen seminars, advising, mentoring, interest groups and high-impact education programs such as study abroad, undergraduate research, leadership and service-learning. A majority of the Compact Scholars identify as Latinx.
 
“Compact Scholars is an exemplary program,” said J. Luke Wood, vice president of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity. “It has provided students in our local area with opportunities for access and support throughout their time at SDSU. This recognition is well-deserved, and I'm honored to support all their hard work.”

For Compact Scholars director Janet Abbott, the recognition serves as a bookend of sorts, as Examples of Excelencia honored partner program Compact for Success in 2007.

“Fast forward 13 years later, and we are being recognized not only for our successful efforts in improving the access rates of Latinx SUHSD students attending SDSU, but also for improving the graduation rates of SUHSD Latinx students graduating from SDSU,” Abbott said.

Compact Scholars has served over 6,000 students since its inception in 2006, and the six-year graduation rate for Latinx SUHSD students in the program has risen from 37.6% to 68.8%. That rate compares favorably to the 64.6% six-year rate for Latinx students at SDSU who are not in Compact Scholars and to the national average rate of 54% for Latinx students.

SDSU has made a concerted effort to improve admissions and retention of Latinx students. Designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education, the university has expanded access to federal grants and scholarships if it maintains a Hispanic student population of at least 25%.

Announced this month, the university's five-year strategic plan, "We Rise We Defy: Transcending Borders, Transforming Lives," prioritizes supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion to foster an environment in which all students are able to succeed.

The Compact Scholars Program works in tandem with Compact for Success, which guarantees admission to SDSU for participants from the Sweetwater district, provided they meet academic requirements that include a 3.0 grade-point average and demonstrate readiness in English and math.

For students like Diva Zeckua, a fourth-year biology major from Bonita Vista High School in Chula Vista, Compact Scholars has been invaluable to their college journey.

“Compact Scholars has given me the opportunity to be a part of an amazing community on campus,” Zeckua said. “Not only have I been able to make friendships, I’ve also met people who have guided me throughout my time here at SDSU.”