College Bridge funded $2.1 million to expand Math Bridge
the ‘Central Valley way’; collaborate with CVHEC Transfer Project
The College Bridge Program, a partner of the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, has received a $2,196,928 federal grant for expansion of its College Transition Bridge project that, among other features, will advance collaboration with CVHEC’s Central Valley Transfer Project and its college course-planning software, Program Pathway Mapper, as well as with consortium member colleges.
The College Transition Bridge project is a college counseling initiative created in 2017 that includes a curriculum to meet student needs in preparation for a successful transition from high school to college.
With this new three-year grant from U.S. Department of Education Rural Postsecondary Education and Economic Development (RPED) program funds, the College Transition Bridge Project will identify over 2,750 low-income, minority and rural students in the Central Valley to participate in a year-long program that provides students and educators access to college knowledge.
Additionally, the grant will expand the CT Bridge curriculum to include regional workforce needs and streamlined degree pathways to enter the workforce, said Dr. Lynn Cevallos, founder and president of College Bridge, a non-profit organization dedicated to forging a path towards both college access and success for underrepresented students.
“The pathways lead students from high school to community college to the university to career,” she said. “Expanded services are provided to students as well as intersegmental teams of instructors, counselors and administrators.”
She emphasized that “this grant is 100 percent Valley-focused benefiting the identified student population in the California Central San Joaquin Valley.
“And we will be connecting with CVHEC’s proven Central Valley way of doing things as we tie student success to the workforce needs of the region,” she added, explaining that CVHEC leads the partnership efforts connecting workforce needs through aligned college transfer programs between California Community Colleges and the California State University and University of California systems in the region.
College Bridge, based in Southern California but working closely with CVHEC community college members and their feeder high schools in the Central Valley through its Math Bridge Project, is the only California recipient of the RPED program funds awarded Dec. 22 when the Biden-Harris Administration announced $44.5 million in grants to 22 institutions of higher education nationwide.
Funding from the RPED grant program, which promotes the development of high-quality career pathways aligned to high-skill, high-wage and in-demand industry sectors and occupations in the region, is designed to improve rates of postsecondary education enrollment, persistence and completion among students in rural communities.
Cevallos noted that two San Joaquin Valley demographic characteristics drive the need for the federally-funded project: the average per capita incomes are 32 percent lower than the state average; and college graduation rates are 50 percent below the state average.
“Students in the San Joaquin Valley lag far behind in academic performance compared to the rest of the state,” she said. “The region trails the state in bachelor’s degree attainment, with only 12 percent of the adult population holding a bachelor’s degree, compared to 21 percent in the state.”
She said that for associate degree attainment, the region and the state are similar at roughly 8 percent, so this grant opportunity also allows for the revision and expansion of the CT Bridge curriculum regarding:
- Community College Transfer Pathways with an overview of all transfer pathway options but particular focus on the state’s two-to-four-year Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) Program;
- and the CVHEC Transfer Project’s Program Pathway Mapper (PPM), the software tool that guides students in choosing courses to complete a specific ADT Program.
“In leading the partnership efforts connecting workforce needs through aligned college transfer programs between California Community Colleges and the CSU and UC systems in the region, CVHEC convenes regional partners to review and approve transfer curricula that serve as the basis for the ADT Program,” Cevallos said.
“Faculty from each partner college and university meet to review and approve ADT course requirements. Approved ADTs are loaded into Program Mapper software, which is embedded in College Transition Bridge.”
Dr. Benjamín Durán, CVHEC executive director, said this new endeavor between Central Valley Higher Education Consortium and the College Transition Bridge will streamline and clarify effective college and career pathways for high school students.
“The Central Valley Transfer Project is anchored by the Program Pathways Mapper, a simple, user-friendly but highly effective software platform,” Durán said. “CVHEC will now help integrate the use of the PPM into the college readiness activities provided by CT Bridge as the key planning tool for high school students to identify and chart their pathway to successful completion.”
Cevallos said the math and CT Bridge experience enables students to build their confidence and capacity in math and successfully complete college transfer-level math courses before high school graduation.
“College-level math and English are gateway courses that serve as prerequisites to many other courses important to successful completion and attainment of their desired degree/certification,” she said.
The funding provides the CT Bridge students, while still in high school, a series of college readiness activities such as completing financial aid and admissions applications, reviewing career opportunities in their desired workforce, selecting a major aligned with their desired career interests and planning the necessary sequence of courses, training and timeline for successful completion.
Stan Carrizosa, CVHEC regional coordinator who is the lead for the consortium’s Transfer Project, said
students who benefit from participation in the CT Bridge experience will be introduced to PPM and guided through the readiness details needed for them to plan their college futures from high school to community college and their four-year institution.
“Because so many of the CT Bridge students are first generation college prospects and come from backgrounds underrepresented in college attendance, they often transition to their local community college as their initial pathway into higher education,” Carrizosa said.
He cited the success of a PPM user who was a student panelist at the CVHEC Summit in October.
“Students like Araceli Tilley took full advantage of Program Pathways Mapper by utilizing the course planning software after her transfer from Merced College to continue planning her academic journey at UC Merced where she graduates with a master’s this spring,” Carrizosa noted.
For more information about the College Bridge RDEP grant, contact Dr. Nicole Korgie at email@example.com.
BACKGROUND: College Bridge’s mission is to identify and eliminate barriers that prevent underrepresented students from progressing to and through college specifically focusing on Black, Latino, low-income and rural students. One of its two objectives is to expand strategic dual enrollment partnerships to serve low-income, rural and Latino students in California’s Central Valley.