Mercy College was named one of the country’s “Bright Spots in Hispanic Education” this month as part of the 25th anniversary of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
The initiative was created to recognize the organizations across the country that work toward evening the educational playing field for Hispanic communities. Mercy College is now among 230 other programs and organizations in the nation, and one of two in the New York City Area, recognized for its dedication to its Latino student body.
“I am thrilled to have this recognition. In a time when too few students graduate college, particularly those most at risk due to family income, Mercy College is finding solutions to help more students succeed,” said Mercy College President Tim Hall. “Students succeed when we raise our expectations and when we raise our level of support for those expectations.”
According to the White House website, the initiative promotes an outreach agenda aimed at improving the availability of high-quality early learning programs for Hispanic children, encouraging more Latino students to enroll in and graduate college, and increasing the overall number of Hispanic students that graduate high school.
“There has been notable progress in Hispanic educational achievement, and it is due to the efforts of these Bright Spots in Hispanic Education, programs and organizations working throughout the country to help Hispanic students reach their full potential,” said AlejandraCeja, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics Executive Director.
As a result of these efforts, by 2013, 15.7 percent of Hispanics have earned a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, as opposed to 8.1 percent in 1990. Additionally, 75.8 percent of Hispanics have a high school diploma, as opposed to 58.2 percent in 1990.
At Mercy College, one-third of the population is Latino, and 71 percent of their freshmen are Pell Grant recipients. These statistics can be attributed to an increase in affordable tuition policies, mentoring programs, and their “Step Up to STEM” initiative that supports Hispanic and low-income students seeking to earn a degree in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
It is clear that the advances in education, for any group of people, open the gates for goals to be realized, and further success to be attained.
“I want to create a legacy for my family,” said Fatima Teos, a student at Mercy College. “My dream is to be the first Latina woman CEO of a Fortune  company.”