Helping Students Succeed

Prestigious award notes CLU track record

The Council of Independent Colleges has selected California Lutheran University to receive a $100,000 Wal-Mart College Success Award to help CLU build on its success in enrolling, retaining and graduating first-generation college students.

The University was one of only 20 institutions selected to receive the grant, which is intended to help universities that are already deeply committed to the education of first-generation students. CLU is the only California recipient out of more than 200 colleges that applied for the grants.

The colleges selected have developed programs that result in higher percentages of graduates among their first-generation college students than the national average, and many graduate first-generation students at the same rate as all other students.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 24 percent of first-generation college students nationwide succeed in earning a bachelor's degree compared with 68 percent of students whose parents have a bachelor's degree. Each year, between 35 and 40 percent of the new students at CLU are first-generation. Of those first-generation college students who entered CLU in 2002, 75 percent graduated within five years.

Cal Lutheran is the only institution that plans to specifically target transfer students with the Wal-Mart grant. The initiative will strengthen efforts to improve academic preparation and transition, integration into the University community, and exploration of career and graduate school options.

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