The Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) has a variety of programs designed to support the unique needs of the Hispanic population it serves. The Academic Achievers Program (AAP) was created in 1994 to serve students who face many obstacles including minimal if any family financial contribution to college expenses, insufficient academic preparation or study skills, and attitudinal conflicts like family pressure to leave school and work full time. To date, 420 Latino students have been served in the AAP-Austin High School and 312 students have participated in the AAP-UH program. Students enrolled in this program receive extensive academic monitoring and counseling by faculty.
Progress is monitored in three different ways. One, during the semester teachers and professors at Austin High School and the University of Houston send out semester progress reports to professors. Progress reports help staff identify any academic issues that students may have so that we may address them immediately. Early identification of problems is the key to success. Second, at the end of each semester grades are assessed, problem areas identified and the students counseled. At the University of Houston (UH) students who do not meet the 2.7 GPA are put on probation and required to participate in additional hours of one-on-one tutoring. Third, The UH Office of Institutional Research conducts an evaluation to measure graduation rates of AAP-UH students and compare our rates to other groups on campus.
CMAS aims to increase the low education attainment level of Latino students in the community by reducing the high school drop out rate and increasing the number of students that attend and graduate from college.
· Participating students have significantly higher graduate rates than all UH students (72% vs. 46%) and is also higher than the Texas (49%) and U.S. graduation rates (60%).
· In the Fall of 2013, 80 students in AAP obtained an average cumulative GPA of 3.2 and 29 AAP students made the Dean’s list.