Although funding for the Program for Academic & Career Excellence program at Stanislaus State is slated to end this year, the success that it has helped Hispanic and underserved first-generation college students achieve over the past six years is far from over.
With a mission to ensure that all students—regardless of individual differences—have access to the resources they need to successfully earn a baccalaureate degree, PACE has offered academic assistance and support at no cost to over 700 qualified students at Stanislaus State.
Elvia Ramirez was the first in her family to attend college and one of the many students who took advantage of the PACE Program.
“I don’t know what my college experience would have been like without the PACE program,” said Ramirez. “It is a great support system, especially for those college students who are first-generation students like me.”
Currently enrolled in her third year of college as a sociology major, Ramirez said that she attributes much of her academic success to the PACE Program. Since she became involved with the program, she said that she has earned a spot on the Dean’s List and maintained good academic standing each semester.
“PACE has helped me personally grow and cultivate my potential by being the best student I can be,” said Ramirez.
Funding for the PACE Program was meant to sunset this year, according to Associate Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs Tim Lynch, who said that the program was funded by a $5 million, five-year nonrenewable grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
“It has lasted into a sixth year through a no-cost extension, but it was never intended to be an ongoing federal commitment,” said Lynch.
Although funding for the PACE Program will end this year, Lynch said that the program has allowed Stanislaus State to test various academic assistance and support activities in order to determine those that are effective in promoting retention and overall academic success.
Lynch said that the University will embed these “high-impact practices” throughout other University curriculum and programs once the PACE Program sunsets.
Among these practices is a cohort-based first-year experience, which allows students to take a two-semester English class together and ultimately form bonds, share ideas and understand that they are not alone in their academic journey.
“Our University serves a very high percentage of first-generation students, many of whom come from low-income families. It is important that they get off to a good start in higher education,” said Lynch.