FPU among the nation’s best at graduating Hispanic students

By wayne.steffen on September 6, 2013 @ 6:44am
3 smiling students talking in front of McDonald Hall

According to the Chronicle's 2013-2014 Almanac, FPU's overall graduation rate for first-time, full-time students is 57.1 percent in six years (based on 2011 figures). The rate for Hispanic students is nearly identical at 55.2 percent. FPU is the only member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities in the top 10. (chronicle.com/article/The-Almanac-2013/141183/)

FPU enrolls about 3,500 students in traditional undergraduate, bachelor's degree completion and graduate programs. Most first-time, full-time students are among the approximately 1,250 traditional college students, aged 18-22 and coming to the university directly from high school or after a year or two at a community college or another four-year institution.

Students at FPU represent the cultural and ethnic mixing bowl that is California's Central Valley, said President Pete C. Menjares, Ph.D. "The face of Fresno Pacific is the face of our region, and the future of this nation. Many of our students are the first in their families to attend a university. It is our mission and our privilege to serve these students, be they traditional college students or working adults, and help them attain their dream of an excellent education that benefits them, their families, their professions and their communities."

Fresno Pacific has the highest graduation rate of any college or university in its region, Provost Stephen Varvis, Ph.D., pointed out. "Now it is clear that rate extends to our Hispanic students, as well," he said.

The issues for Hispanic families are similar to those of other families working hard to provide an education for their children, Varvis said. "Will the instruction be rigorous and relevant? Will the faculty care about my son or daughter's success? Is a degree from this institution affordable now and a solid lifelong investment? These are the strengths of an FPU education."

Hispanic-Serving Institutions are those where Hispanic students make up at least 25 percent of the enrollment, according to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. At FPU, 32 percent of traditional undergraduate students are from a Hispanic background, along with 39 percent of those in the adult degree completion program and more than 20 percent of graduate students, according to fall 2012 figures, the most recent available.

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) represents more than 400 colleges and universities. While HACU institutions in the U. S. represent less than 10 percent of all higher education institutions nationwide, they are home to more than two-thirds of all Hispanic college students.

The Chronicle of Higher Education is a respected national online and print source of news and information for college and university faculty members and administrators.