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Arizona State University Outreach Program Targets Latino Parents

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Arizona State University administrators are working on recruiting more first-generation Latino college students — by including parents in their outreach efforts.

The Future Sun Devil Families program offers workshops to families, with students grades 9-12 and their parents learning side-by-side.

The Arizona Republic recently profiled one Hispanic family participating in the program: high school junior Breanna Angulo, the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Neither of her parents went to college: her father is a construction worker, and her mother works the night shift as a hospital clerk.

Breanna took notes on the grades and classes required to be admitted to the university during a recent session.

“It’s about closing the achievement gap, so we’re doing our part to fulfill that,” said Beatriz Rendon, associate vice president of education outreach and students services at ASU, in the article.

According to the article, the ASU freshman class is about 23 percent Hispanic.

The program includes seven two-hour workshops during the school year at local high schools. Teens and parents learn together about topics such as how to apply to college and for financial aid. Sessions are led in Spanish and English. About 700 parents and students are now participating in the program.

Workshop topics differ depending on a student’s grade level. For example, 12th graders learn about committing to an academic major, while 11th graders learn about leadership skills.

Students with a GPA or 2.5 or higher can apply to participate, and must be enrolled in certain districts, including the Phoenix Union High School District, Tempe Union High School District and Mesa Public Schools.

According to the university, program benefits include making direct connections with ASU representatives, interacting with peer mentors, and more opportunities to receive competitive need-based scholarships.

Despite participating in the program, Breanna believes she will need to attend community college first because of tight finances.

“I’m scared,” she told the Republic. “I don’t think I’m going to be able to [go to a four-year university out of high school]. Because I know the money issue is is going to be really big.”

Still, her longterm goal is to transfer to and graduate from a university, and such programs are trying to ensure than happens.