By Elizabeth White
(TEANECK) – FDU was recently named a Hispanic serving institution. This accreditation is because of the programs in place that aim to improve Latino success.
FDU’s Metro campus is 30.1 percent Hispanic, according to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. FDU has a high percentage of Hispanic students in comparison to FDU’s Florham campus, 15.7 percent, and other New Jersey colleges. For example, Rutgers New Brunswick is 13.3 percent Hispanic.
FDU is also part of Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). HACU contains more than 470 colleges and universities nationwide that are committed to Hispanic higher education, according to HACU’s website.
These programs include the Latino Promise program and Puerta al Futuro, which means “Door to the future.”
“Latino Promise is like a second family to me,” Emilia Suarez, a current student in the Latino Promise program, said. Suarez is a communications major and history minor. She hopes to work in the Human Resources department of a company when she graduates.
“I will be the first in my family to graduate college,” Suarez said. “I’ve been telling myself that since the day I started college to make sure I stay on my game. I want to make my family even more proud of me.”
Latino Promise started in 2007 and seeks to improve Latino success in college. The program is aimed toward traditional age students who come from homes where Spanish is their first language. FDU recruits students by providing informational sessions at high schools around the region.
“They help us transition from high school to college so we don’t feel overwhelmed especially if English isn’t your first language,” Suarez.
These informational sessions also help to explain the purpose of higher education and possible financial aid for students.
Students come out of the program with an Associate’s degree or 60 credits towards their intended major. If students maintain a certain GPA through the program, then they are eligible to receive 40 percent off tuition for their remaining years at FDU.
Puerta al Futuro is aimed at adult learners whose first language is Spanish. Students in the program start with courses in Spanish the first year and receive nine hours of English as a Second Language (ESL) support.
The second year students continue with ESL support and bilingual courses. The third year features courses in English and more ESL support, as well as an assessment that analyzes the students’ oral and written communication skills. At this point, the student has enough credits for an Associate’s degree. They continue with courses in English.
This accreditation could mean additional funding for FDU programs through the Department of Education. FDU is not yet eligible for these grants but this accreditation could lead to funding in the future.
“It makes me feel prouder to be a Latina student at FDU,” Suarez said about FDU being named a Hispanic serving institution. “Knowing that FDU has a program specifically for Latino students shows that they want everyone to be successful no matter what.”