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Miami Dade College Awarded Major Grant from the Lumina Foundation for Latino Student Success Initiative

Lumina Students1

Miami, November 7, 2011 - After an extensive review of numerous proposals from across the nation, the Lumina Foundation has announced a major grant award to Miami Dade College (MDC) to implement a Latino Student Success project aimed at increasing Latino college completion and the number of college graduates in America. MDC was recognized following this competitive process for its innovative student success and completion initiatives while enrolling the highest number of Hispanics in the nation. 

Through the grant, MDC will expand its efforts to design and implement a model pathway to college completion by: 1) providing financial literacy resources and services to secondary and post-secondary students and their families; 2) designing professional development programs for Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) counselors and ensuring completion of college applications for MDCPS students; 3) aligning MDCPS curriculum with MDC’s accelerated developmental education program with customized academic interventions; 4) aligning MDC’s curriculum with public four-year institutions in Florida and leveraging employer resources for scholarship and job opportunities (Transfer 2 + 2 + Work); and 5) developing a comprehensive public information campaign in support of Latino Student Success.

Under the project, Lumina will provide a total of $7.2 million over a four-year period to 12 partnerships in 10 states, including MDC, with significant and growing Latino populations. The partnerships will leverage community leaders across key policy, education, business and nonprofit sectors to build, implement and sustain successful “place-based efforts” that capitalize on their local talents and ingenuity. The Lumina grant to MDC totals $600,000, but its far-reaching impact truly magnifies the award.

“The Latino success project is the culmination of nearly two years of planning and engagement with many foundations and national leaders in the Latino community, said Lumina President and CEO Jamie Merisotis. “Through these partnerships, we aim to build bridges among leadership groups already working to improve Latino college student success.”

Grant support through the Latino program will provide an array of services to Latino students and families, including training in financial literacy, help with K12-to-college transfer and transition issues, and improved developmental courses designed to move students more efficiently toward credit-bearing courses. After extensive consultation with national, regional and local experts in philanthropy, Latino education, higher education and community engagement, Lumina Foundation has invited the grantees to focus on:

•       Better data to drive decisions

•       Connecting to the community

•       Working in partnership

•       Measuring all of these efforts

“These types of partnerships are vitally important to helping the United States remain economically competitive,” added Juan Sepúlveda, director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, which is chaired by MDC president, Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón. “Over the last decade, we’ve gone from having the highest proportion of college-educated workers to now being ranked 10th. Reaching world-class levels of college attainment will require us to find ways to assure that dramatically more students have the opportunity to succeed in higher education.”

Lumina Foundation seeks to do just that through a national Goal 2025 movement that aims to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. Lumina is keenly aware that Latinos are key to achieving this goal — and to the nation’s economic future.

At more than 50 million, Latinos represent the largest and fastest-growing population group in the United States. By 2025, half of the nation’s workers will be of Latino descent. At that time, 63 percent of all jobs in the United States will require some form of postsecondary education or training, according to labor economist Anthony Carnevale of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. 

The Lumina Grant award comes at a time during which MDC has been lauded by many of the nation’s top granting and educational organizations. Recently, Miami Dade College was named as one of the ten finalist colleges by the Aspen Institute’s Community College Excellence Program. The winner will be announced in December. And, just last week, the Carnegie Corporation recognized MDC with a grant award. Earlier this year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also lauded MDC and presented it with major grant award. All the awards go toward further expanding MDC’s trailblazing MDC3 Student Success and Completion Initiatives. 

Lumina Foundation

The Lumina Foundation strives to help people achieve their potential by expanding access to and success in education beyond high school. It is a private, independent foundation established in Indianapolis with invested assets in excess of $1 billion. This total ranks Lumina among the nation’s top private foundations. Lumina is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college. In fact, it is the nation’s largest foundation dedicated exclusively to increasing students’ access to and success in postsecondary education.

Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College is the nation’s largest institution of higher education with an enrollment of more than 174,000 students. It is also the nation’s top producer of Associate in Arts and Science degrees. The college’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer more than 300 distinct degree programs including several baccalaureate degrees in education, public safety, supervision and management, film, nursing, physician assistant studies, engineering, biological sciences  and others. In fact, its academic and workforce training programs have served as national models of excellence. MDC is also renowned for its rich cultural programming. It is home of the Miami Book Fair International, Miami International Film Festival, the MDC Live! performing arts series, the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, a sculpture park and a large art gallery and theater system. MDC has served nearly 2,000,000 students since it opened its doors in 1960.

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist

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