The Puente Project is an intersegmental academic preparation program sponsored by the University of California, Office of the President, operating with additional support from the California Community Colleges and other private funding sources. Puente was founded in 1981 as a grassroots initiative to address the low rate of academic achievement among Mexican American and Latino students. Open to all students, there are presently 56 Puente community college sites. The Puente Project serves over 9,500 community college students directly each year, and Latinos comprise the majority (78%) of program participants.
The mission of the Puente Project is to increase the number of educationally disadvantaged students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities, earn college degrees, and return to the community as mentors and leaders of future generations. To accomplish this, counselors, teachers and mentors work together to provide students with the necessary tools to successfully transfer to four-year institutions.
Latino students persist at greater rates than other Latinos, transfer to four-year institutions at higher rates than other underrepresented students and graduate at rates similar to students of ethnic groups with well-established patterns of academic achievement.
- 83% of fall 2006 Puente participants persisted in college until the fall 2007 term. The 1-year persistence rate for all community college students statewide was 68%.
- By 2007-08, 52% of 2002-03 Puente students had transferred to 4-year colleges and universities, compared to 39% for all CCC students statewide and 29% for all CCC educationally-disadvantaged students.
- Over a 6-year period, the number of Puente students transferring increased 64%, and the number of transfer-prepared students increased 89%.
- 86% of Puente students who transferred to the University of California (UC) in 2002 graduated within 4 years. The graduation rates for all CCC Asian and all CCC white students who transferred to UC in 2002 are 84.9% and 83.9% respectively.
- 69% of Puente students who transferred to the CSU in 2002 graduated within 4 years. The degree completion was 63% for all CCC transfer students and 67% for CCC white transfer students.