AMERITAS Launches Hispanic Pathways

Dual Language Immersion Program Partners with Tarrant County College in Texas after two years of success in California

By Julia S Ramirez
Published on LatinoLA: June 5, 2014

AMERITAS Launches Hispanic Pathways

Ameritas Educational Services and Fort Worth, TX-based Tarrant County College District announced today their partnership in providing a dual-language program to TCC's new Weekend College beginning in August 2014. Twenty-four first-time-in-college, Spanish-speaking students will comprise the initial TCC Weekend College ÔÇô Hispanic Pathways cohort with additional cohorts to be added in spring 2015.

Ameritas Educational Services, Inc. developed Ameritas Hispanic Pathways in fall 2012 to increase Hispanic student success rates in community colleges nationwide. As a dual-language English immersion (DLEI) model, Hispanic Pathways embeds both academic and English-language skills into classroom and online curricula to help accelerate Hispanic students' progression through their first year of college.

Ameritas' research-based model provides bilingual instruction and counseling to support Hispanic Pathways students, as well as a strong academic foundation that better prepares Hispanic students to complete their chosen degree program.

According to the Pew Research Center, American Hispanics are woefully behind in higher-ed graduations but are finally reaching new milestones. In 2012, only 14% of Latinos aged 25 and older had earned a bachelor degree compared to 51% of Asians, 35% of Whites and 21% of African Americans. Yet the Latino student population continues to grow. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, they now comprise a quarter of all public-school students.

So while they are the fastest growing minority in the nation, they still have the lowest educational attainment rate. In a 2011 statement by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the success of Hispanic students is noted as a key component in ensuring the future of strong state economies. From a workforce standpoint, it's imperative that the Hispanic population succeeds. To address the needs of these students, Ameritas was formed to give Spanish-speaking students a more solid academic foundation so that they will have a better chance of success in their college careers.

"It's exciting to be a part of shaping the future of the Hispanic community. Research in Bilingual Education has shown that Hispanic students do much better in a language-and-culturally-supportive environment," says Dr. Carmen Lamboy-Naughton, chief academic officer of Ameritas.

Ameritas' first university partner, Brandman University in Southern California, introduced the Hispanic Pathways program two years ago and has since seen 59% of its students complete their first-year courses and become eligible to proceed to their second year of studies. Ameritas now plans to expand its Hispanic Pathways program to community colleges nationwide, beginning with Tarrant County College District's Weekend College.

Through TCC's Weekend College, students who otherwise could not attend college, due to work and family responsibilities, can attend full-time on the weekends and complete their Associate degree within 18 months or less. TCC will be offering three Weekend College cohorts beginning this fall, with one of which will incorporate the Hispanic Pathways program.

"We recognize the value that a dual language immersion program can provide to our Hispanic students, and look forward to seeing how our work with Ameritas will increase student success rates," said Carlos Morales, PhD, president of TCC Connect. "We believe the Ameritas Hispanic Pathways program will help us expand our offerings to reach more students in the community."

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