In 2000, the non-profit Esperanza, Inc. and Eastern University forged a partnership to address the unmet educational needs of the Hispanic community, resulting in Esperanza College (EC), a Middle States Accredited branch campus of Eastern University, offering courses for credit towards an associate’s degree. The college provides higher education opportunities in a community that experiences secondary drop-out rates of 37%. The school is uniquely designed to address the barriers that limit access to higher education, including financial (every student receives 52% discount on tuition), linguistic, academic and preparatory challenges, to provide a doorway to enrollment in a four-year degree granting institution. Our summer bridge takes place two times a year before each entry point. It includes English and Math. Students are tested before and after the bridge to see if they have improved sufficiently to be able to move directly into the college level courses. An internship/field experience within each concentration provides professional development and opportunities to jobs. The college offers an English institute with four levels of ESL and a Child Development Associates (CDA) program. Additionally, Esperanza provides students with a 1:20 or less student ratio, faculty and staff mentors, and tutoring for difficult subjects.
The mission of this program is to ensure that students are prepared to confidently take college level courses in the areas of math and English.
By graduation, 90% of the Spanish dominant students score a 500 or above on the TOEFL exam with 10% scoring between 493 and 500. The first academic year includes a graduated transition from coursework in Spanish to that in English. By the second year, all students are fully immersed in English-language coursework. EC serves between 220 and 240 students. Students at EC will leave with a debt of no more than 10K- 12K for four semesters of academic work. IDA programs are made available to eligible students. Free FAFSA and financial literacy classes are offered throughout the semester for students, families and friends. The schedule permits students to finish the full AA in two years time whether they are day or evening time students. EC students boast a retention rate of 65.4%, and graduation rates of 59.3% (two years) and 12.5% (three years). Moreover, 79% of the students go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree. In 2017, 64.9% improved their scores sufficiently to enter 100 level courses in math and 66.7% improved scores sufficiently to enter 100 level courses in English.