For some college students, earning a bachelor’s degree will be a lifelong dream realized. For others, graduate school—and beyond—beckons. Now, thanks to a multimillion-dollar grant, California State University, Chico is positioned to prepare its students to attain even more success after their undergraduate years.

Chico State Enterprises—an auxiliary organization of CSU, Chico—has been awarded funding of $3 million over five years via a Title V grant from the US Department of Education. The grant will fund “Adelante: A Pipeline Program to Provide Graduate and Professional Opportunities for Hispanic and Low-Income Students,” a multi-initiative program encouraging students to dream big, and plan accordingly, after graduating from CSU, Chico.

The program’s goal is to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students pursuing and attaining their graduate degrees and teaching credentials. This will be accomplished through a well-coordinated network of academic support programs designed to raise GPAs and graduation rates and to improve the research and writing skills that facilitate students’ aspirations and transitions to graduate school.

Sharon Barrios, the grant’s co-principal investigator and CSU, Chico Interim Dean of Graduate Studies, said the Adelante program’s first component will establish an academic support plan from a student’s sophomore year to the completion of the graduate degree.

“This plan includes faculty-graduate student mentoring, tutoring and advising in hubs of 10 students, as well as courses and workshops to foster personal and academic growth, leadership skills and financial literacy,” Barrios said. “Other pieces include a faculty-mentored research program and a dedicated writing and research commons where our students can learn, work and thrive.”

The program’s second component follows a “Grow Our Own” model, strengthening and diversifying University graduate programs through an extensive outreach plan connecting Hispanic and low-income students with CSU, Chico graduate program faculty and grad students. It will also provide revised curriculum and program options more closely aligned with the educational interests of non-feeder majors (i.e. those without corresponding master’s programs), and support for faculty to develop inclusive and equity-minded practices in teaching.

Title V grants financially assist Hispanic-Serving Institutions to expand educational opportunities for, and improve the attainment of, Hispanic students. These grants also enable HSIs to expand and enhance their academic offerings, program quality and institutional stability. Chico State became a federally designated HIS in 2015.

Grant co-principal investigator and Dean of Undergraduate Education Kate McCarthy calls the funding “a double win for Chico State.”

“As we build the pipeline to graduate school for our students, we’ll also be providing critical support for the retention and success of Latinx and low-income undergraduates,” McCarthy said. “We’re very excited and eager to get going.”