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$2.87M helps Lamar State’s outreach to Hispanic, 1st-generation students

Hispanic and other underserved students will soon be able to navigate a well-supported and successful path from high school through college thanks to Lamar State College Port Arthur.

“We will have a more deliberate outreach to Hispanic students as well as first generation students, providing them with the necessary information about accessibility and the importance of education,” said Dr. Pamela Millsap, Vice President for Academic Affairs.

That effort is boosted by a $2.87 million Title V grant, distributed by the U.S. Department of Education, which will create the “Excelencia Center.” This includes the addition of faculty, support staff and computer equipment.

“Nearly half of Hispanic college students report that their parents had not earned a high school diploma,” Millsap said. “This grant and the Excelencia Center will create momentum for the Hispanic community to embrace education as a necessity rather than an option for the future.”

Many LSCPA students come from low-income households and are often the first in the family to attend college. The U.S. Department of Education Title V grant will address the need for additional support for those students with the creation of the “Excelencia Center” on campus.

The more than $2.87 million grant, distributed over five years, will fund the Excelencia Center and its efforts to provide success coaches and tutors as well as additional computer equipment and upgraded facilities to attract and retain students considered “at-risk.”

More than 250 applications were received for this grant with LSCPA rated among the top 30 in the U.S. Only 43 grants were funded nationally.

Especially important, Millsap explained, is the need for a bridge from high school to college for at-risk students.

“Hispanic and traditionally underserved students are disproportionately academically unprepared for college-level courses,” Millsap said. “Student support services need to be consolidated and tailored to meet student needs in order to be effective. They need help transitioning from high school to college and this program will help them establish themselves as bona fide, dedicated students who are successful more quickly and consistently.”

School official said the growth of the college’s physical presence is an effort to keep up with demand as the student population continues to grow at Lamar State College Port Arthur.

Over a four-year period since 2015, enrollment at LSCPA has increased 52.1 percent with the Fall 2019 mark of 2,741 students hitting an all-time high in the College’s history.

— Submitted by Gerry L. Dickert, public information coordinator for Lamar State College Port Arthur.