Making students understand the value of a dollar makes better students. And making better students who follow through on their commitment to higher education is what Hostos Community College is all about.

Hostos President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez is pleased to announce that it has received a $100,000 grant award from Citi Community Development for a pilot program, “Summer Success 101: Student Financial Literacy and Retention Program,” designed to empower students financially and also to increase retention and educational attainment rates.

With funding provided by Citi, 50 Hostos students who save $600 from their Pell financial aid grants (the cost of one summer course), can put that money toward another summer course. And, an additional summer course will then be provided for free. Citi is also providing MetroCards for all students who participate.

This dynamic and multi-tiered project was born from a partnership with Hostos, Citi Community Development, The NYC Office of Finance Empowerment (OFE) and Phipps CDC, a NYC Financial Empowerment Center.

This pilot program is geared toward summer because Hostos believes keeping students enrolled in summer courses keeps them connected to the College.

And keeps them returning in the fall.

"Citi is pleased to support Hostos Community College's Summer Success 101 program," said Lily Lopez, Vice President, Citi Community Development. "The program will give students the tools they'll need to earn a college degree and address financial barriers. It will also provide financial coaching to help them adopt positive financial behavior."

Hostos President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez is thrilled about the College’s partnership with all of the organizations that will help students stay enrolled and stay on track.

“By Citi Community Development taking a leadership role in the Student Financial Literacy and Retention Program, it will be supporting an initiative that has been intentionally structured not only to further our students’ financial literacy and educational attainment but also to have a broad impact as a solutions-proven model,” President Matos Rodríguez said. “Its design is innovative, scalable, replicable, and impactful. This program model is effective because it addresses student needs on several fronts and provides reinforcements to keep students on track, at a time when they are most in need of guidance to navigate their way to a brighter future.”

Citi volunteers will also present workshops to help students improve their financial literacy. The workshops will cover financial topics that are particularly relevant to college students, such as the importance of opening and managing a bank account.

But the program does not end there. Members of the Hostos Student Success Coaching Unit will also be involved. In addition to helping students in “Summer Success 101,”  Success Coaches will receive their own financial literacy training from through CUNY’s "Consumer and Personal Finance” certificate program so that they can provide financial coaching to students.

Success Coaches and participating students will benefit from a successful partnership that will be established between The NYC Office of Finance Empowerment and Phipps CDC. Success Coaches, who serve as personal “college navigators,” will play an integral role in the Student Financial Literacy and Retention Program. Through this partnership, 16 Success Coaches will have access to Phipps’ expertise in educating and empowering people financially, further complementing the pilot’s multi-tiered approach to ensure student success.

This grant will greatly impact students by increasing their financially literacy, retention rates and educational attainment. This innovative pilot incentive program combines promising strategies that have been well documented and that have benefited Hostos students, in particular, based on reports from the College’s Student Success Coaching Unit.

Citi’s Eileen Auld, NY Tri-State Regional Director, Citi Community Development, and Lily Lopez, NY Community Development Officer, Citi Community Development, were instrumental in establishing this partnership to benefit the students of Hostos.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique "Student Success Coaching Unit" provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.  

Hostos offers 29 associate degree programs and five certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of The City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 480,000 students at 24 colleges.