The White House Designates Mercy College a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education

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The White House has named Mercy College one of the country's "Bright Spots in Hispanic Education."

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The White House has named Mercy College one of the country's "Bright Spots in Hispanic Education."

Mercy College President Tim Hall said: “I am thrilled to have this recognition! In a time when too few students graduate college, particularly those most at risk due to family income, Mercy College is finding solutions to help more students succeed. We believe that we can do more to help our students succeed than we thought we could a generation ago. Students succeed when we raise our expectations and when we raise our level of support for those expectations.”

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics was created to tackle educational disparities in Hispanic communities – and to recognize organizations working to close the gaps. The announcement of this year's "Bright Spots in Hispanic Education" was made at the kickoff of Hispanic Heritage Month and celebrates the 25th anniversary of the White House initiative. Mercy, which was nominated for the honor, is now listed with 230 other programs and organizations in the national catalog for its commitment to educating Latino students. The College is one of two Hispanic Serving Institutions in the New York City area recognized for the White House distinction.

White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics Executive Director Alejandra Ceja said: “There has been notable progress in Hispanic educational achievement, and it is due to the efforts of these Bright Spots in Hispanic Education, programs and organizations working throughout the country to help Hispanic students reach their full potential.”

Executive Director of External Affairs and Government Relations Andrew Person said: "It is so exciting for Mercy College to be recognized by the White House as a national player in such an important cause to our nation's competitiveness in a global economy. Our country is looking for leaders and there is still much work to be done. We are proud to raise our hand to serve."

Roughly one-third of Mercy College’s student population is Latino. Of the College’s freshman, 71 percent are Pell Grant recipients. Mercy College created breakthrough mentoring approaches (PACT-Personalized Achievement Contract), innovations in STEM education, and affordable tuition policies to increase college access and reduce time to completion, especially for students who are first in their families to attend college.

According to the White House website, the Bright Spots Initiative seeks to “encourage collaboration between stakeholders focused on similar issues in sharing data-driven approaches, promising practices, peer advice, and effective partnerships, ultimately resulting in increased support for the educational attainment of the Hispanic community.”

Mercy College student Fatima Teos said she loves attending Mercy because of all the support she receives here: “I want to create a legacy for my family. My dream is to be the first Latina woman CEO of a Fortune [500] company.”

Student Angel Cespedes said thanks to Mercy College; “I now have a new vision of what it takes to be successful in the world.”

To learn more about the Bright Spots initiative, visit the national online catalog at http://www.ed.gov/HispanicInitiative.

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Catherine Cioffi
Mercy College
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