GPC Program for Latino Students Wins National Award
Contact: Beverly James
|Author: Beverly James|
For Immediate Release
Georgia Perimeter College Educational Assistance Program, which provides assistance to Latino students, won an award for advising from the National Academic Advising Association.
GEAP, funded by a grant from the Goizueta Foundation, provides increased access and success for Hispanic/Latino students at GPC. The program began in 2010 and is part of the college’s long-range plan to provide more educational opportunities for underserved members of its community.
GEAP targets Hispanic/Latino students with a demonstrated financial need who have been accepted or are enrolled at one of Georgia Perimeter College’s five locations in metropolitan Atlanta. Each student receives between $500 and $1,500 per year in scholarship funds.
The GPC program won the NACADA Region 4 Excellence in Advising Program award. The honor goes to programs that document innovative and/or exemplary practices resulting in improvement of academic advising services. Eric Cuevas, GEAP director, has taken unusual steps to improve retention and graduation rates among his students.
Cuevas formed a student-led advisory council that allows sophomores to mentor incoming freshmen; instituted a Pathways for Transfer program that includes visits to other universities with programs that target Latino students for extra tutoring, advising and counseling; and started an enhanced orientation for students and parents.
“I text students, Skype with those at other campuses, talk to them via email and phone and in person,” Cuevas says. “Whatever it takes to keep the lines of communication open with them, I do it. You have to meet these students where they are, so I am not afraid to advise via whatever media works.”
The intensive and unusual advising methods are what kept Sebastian Saavedra at GPC. “I didn’t realize how much help that I would need once I got to college,” says Saavedra, who emigrated from Mexico four years ago. “But Mr. Cuevas is always checking up on us, always reaching out to us in every way possible and always letting us know what to expect as college students. Without his help, I don’t think that I would still be here.”
Cuevas will receive the award on behalf of GPC in March at the NACADA Region 4 conference in Biloxi, Miss.
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Georgia Perimeter College, the largest state college of the University System of Georgia, serves approximately 23,000 students through four campuses and several sites in metro Atlanta. For additional information, visit www.gpc.edu.