OCC recognized as an ‘Equity Champion’ for Latino students

Orange Coast College will be recognized as an “Equity Champion for Excellence in Transfer” for Latino students on Nov. 16. The Champions of Higher Education for Excellence in Transfer virtual event will be hosted by Campaign for College Opportunity.

The organization is acknowledging institutions that excel in their number of Latino students receiving associate degrees for transfer. Latino and Hispanic students are now the largest ethnic student group at OCC, making up 39.4% of the population in 2019.   

 

“If you look at our district, the demographics don’t quite mirror that of the OCC population,” Director of Marketing and Public Relations Juan Gutierrez said. “We pull from Santa Ana quite a bit and from some of the predominantly Latino areas. It’s nice to see that not only are we serving the students in our district, but we have students coming from the rest of Orange County because they want to be here.”

Counseling Latinos for Equity and Engagement (CLEEO) is one of OCC’s programs that assists  Latino students in their education and transfer journey. The program offers counseling and has held virtual events throughout the pandemic to offer a strong support system for the Latino community.      

“The college has so many different resources focused on ensuring that we help students navigate all the challenges that happen with transfer, whether it’s financial resources, educational resources, or technology,” OCC President Angelica Suarez said.  

OCC’s Pirate’s Promise Program provides eligible students with two years of free tuition and textbook support. The program’s goal is to make education accessible to underrepresented communities, so that they can accelerate their path to transferring.  

“It’s also very coincidental and appropriate because this year we are celebrating the 30 year anniversary of the Transfer Center, as well as our Transfer Opportunity Program,” Suarez said.

The Transfer Opportunity Program (TOP) was initially intended for members of historically underrepresented groups such as African-Americans, Native-Americans, Chicanos, Hispanics and Latinos. The resources and support services offered by the program aim to aid first-generation college students.

“I’ve been at OCC since 2019, and I knew that it was known for very high numbers in transfers to UCs and CSUs,” Suarez said. “So to me, this is just a reaffirmation of that commitment.”

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