MENTORING PROGRAM AT UH DOUBLES GRADUATION
RATE OF LATINO STUDENTS
Academic Achievers Program Provides Study Halls,
Monthly Counseling, $2,500 Scholarships
HOUSTON, September 29, 2005—Latino students at the University
of Houston who participate in the Academic Achievers mentoring program
have a graduation rate nearly twice that of UH Latino students who
The findings come from a review of the 11-year-old program by
the UH Office of Institutional Research.
“We have always known that students who receive very close
attention integrate more fully and more successfully than others,”
Rebeca Trevino, program manager for Academic Achievers, said. “It’s
gratifying to have these numbers to back up our enthusiasm.”
The study found that graduation rates of Academic Achievers who
started at UH from 1996 to 1999 ranged from 68 to 89 percent. Graduation
rates for other UH Latino students in that time period ranged from
33 percent to 41 percent.
“We are always happy to evaluate a program and see through
the data that the students are successful,” said Susan Moreno,
assistant director of the Office of Institutional Research (OIR),
which reviewed the program. OIR provides accurate, timely, unbiased,
research-based information regarding the university and its role
in higher education. “It’s clear that Academic Achievers
has done a great job of ensuring that their students graduate.”
The Academic Achievers Program (AAP) is a component of the UH Center
for Mexican American Studies. The AAP provides up to $2,500 a year
for minority students who are the first in their families to attend
college. The program was created in 1994 as an effort to retain
students whose circumstances put them at risk for dropping out of
school. Each student must be enrolled fulltime, attend mandatory
study hall hours, leadership workshops and seminars, and monthly
counseling meetings. Students must also sign a contract agreeing
to abide by the requirements of the program.
“Another element of our success is that we begin mentoring
these students while they are still in high school. We want to get
them in the mindset of higher education, but not desert them when
they get here,” said Trevino.
The CMAS high school effort works with HISD’s Stephen F. Austin
High School, where the majority of students are Latino. The study
found that 25 of the 77 students now enrolled in AAP also participated
in that effort.
“AAP provided me the tools to continue my education, but
most importantly, the staff and fellow AAP members inspired me to
grow and further develop myself, something I continue to do today,”
Maria G. Sanchez, former AAP member said. She enrolled in the program
in the spring of 1999 and continued with its activities through
her graduation in the fall of 2002. Sanchez is now an advanced system
analyst with ExxonMobil Global Services Company.
Trevino said that staying close to students often means counseling
them on matters outside of traditional academic concerns. She frequently
listens to challenges students have with their parents, their boyfriends
or girlfriends, or medical issues.
“I’m their other mom, their sister, their friend.
They come to my office and call me at home. It’s what’s
needed and what works,” Trevino said. “These students
need to be nurtured at every turn of their academic careers.”
The study also found that students in the Academic Achievers program
had a higher grade point average (GPA) as compared with other Latino
students, 2.82 compared to 2.66.
“We know we are making a difference. Our students tell us
that,” Trevino said, “and these results prove it.”
For more information about Academic Achievers Program and the UH
Center for Mexican American Studies, please visit http://www.class.uh.edu/CMAS/
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research
and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers
and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate,
civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university
in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and
service with more than 35,000 students.
For more information about UH visit the universitys Newsroom at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom.