Group gathered for picture.

Pursuing higher education goals often requires sacrifice, both in time and finances.

This commitment was celebrated on August 4, when the accomplishments of 47 Hostos students were recognized at the second annual Student Financial Literacy and Retention Program Celebration.

Launched in Fall 2013, thanks in part to the support from Citi Community Development, the program offers free summer classes, financial coaching, MetroCards, as well as guidance from Student Success Coaches who received financial literacy training through CUNY.

In the pilot phase, 52 students enrolled in the program and received financial coaching. Of these, 29 completed the program. And, of those 29, 97% were either retained or graduated.

Citi renewed the grant for $50,000 in January 2015, and the program expanded to include winter courses as well. This latest cohort to complete the program swelled to 47, many of whom were present to hear from Hostos President David Gómez, Angela Rios, Director of the Student Success Coaching Unit, as well as Lily Lopez and Pat Edwards from Citi who presented information about credit and debt.

President Gómez lauded the students’ commitment to their studies when most others were taking a summer break.

“Congratulations to our students for your commitment to the Student Financial Literacy and Retention program,” President Gómez said. “Your participation today, on a Tuesday afternoon in August, speaks volumes about your dedication to achieving success — academically, professionally and financially.”

Rios echoed President Gomez’s sentiments, and said she was also proud of the 10 Success Coaches who were involved. Rios said that of the latest cohort, all 47 students maintained at least a B+ average with 14 earning an A grade. Also, 16 students have committed to return in Summer 2016 to take their remaining courses, Rios said.

The program is designed to empower students financially and also to increase retention and educational attainment rates. Hostos has found this model to be so effective because it addresses student needs     on several fronts and provides reinforcements to keep students on track by:
- Accelerating degree completion time;
- Proving financial incentive and support to reduce student hardship and encouraging financial planning. The grant also provides for Student Success Coaches to receive financial literacy training through CUNY’s "Consumer and Personal Finance” certificate program so that they can provide financial coaching to students;
- Adding intersession coursework that intensifies student curricular engagement that decreases student disconnection.
The proof of the power of the program was heard in the words of Hostos dental hygiene student, Kendra Francilot, who said the support helped her pay the higher costs associated with the program.

“I would have had to skip one of my classes because I couldn’t pay for it,” Francilot said. “That would have pushed me back a year. But, this program is not only about paying for classes; I learned so much about managing my finances thanks to Citi that I feel better prepared for my future.”

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.
Named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) 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 CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.