Multicultural Student Mentor Program

Academic Level
Issue Area
Key Personnel
Program Focus
First Year Support,


The primary goal of the MSMP is to assist the growing number of multicultural first-year students with their academic and social transition to college. This program strives to promote and facilitate student interaction and provides opportunities for peer mentors and mentees to connect and form strong academic relationships to foster success in their college experience.

Program Description

To help integrate first-year multicultural college students into the college environment, the Office of Minority Affairs established the Multicultural Student Mentor Program (MSMP) in 1988 as a retention strategy to welcome and help incoming students in their transition and adjustment to the university environment. The program focuses on improving multicultural student retention rates by providing mentoring, tutoring, and academic success workshops to students. This program has been helpful for both the students and the institution. The program provides mentors with an excellent leadership experience, and mentees with a strong peer connection while increasing the university’s retention rates. Over the last 30 years, the program has become one of the most solid university retention strategies for multicultural students and a best practice of students serving students. The program has also experienced significant growth in the number of mentors from 6 the inaugural year to 60 today. The support, training, and guidance of the mentors has also evolved greatly with the establishment of training retreats and a class dedicated to learning mentoring theory and praxis. Each academic year, over 1300 first-year multicultural students (mentees) participate in this program. The university commitment to the program has also increased over the years.


Freshman fall-to-fall retention rates increased from an unsteady range of 63% in the early years of the program to a more stable retention for freshman cohorts. The average freshman fall-to-fall retention between 2000 and 2009 was 84% for the total student body and 81% for multicultural students. Over the years, the retention for freshmen served and actively engaged in the MSMP is equal or higher. 

  • Of the fall 2010 freshman cohort 83% enrolled in the fall 2011.
  • For the AY 2011-12, 79% of the Latino freshman active in the program enrolled in the fall 2012, and 100% of Latino freshman cohort active in the program completed the fall 2012 semester. 
  • In the fall 2012 semester, the MSMP served 1233 mentees. Out of these, 408 were Latino students.
  • The multicultural freshman fall-to-fall retention for the 2013-2014 academic year was, for a second year, lower than historically at a 76% compared to 80% for the overall 2013 freshman cohort. When looking at students with lower QValue (below 2,300), Pell Eligibility and 1st Generation, MSMP clearly had a greater impact. The fall to fall retention for freshman with a QValue below 2,300 who were actively engaged in the mentor program was 73% compared to 68% for those who were not active. Similarly, the fall to fall retention for Pell eligible and 1st generation active mentees was 75% compared to 66% and 70 respectively for those not active.
  • In the academic year 2015-2016, the multicultural freshman fall-to-fall retention was 76.9%. Furthermore, students who were active in the MSMP had a much higher fall-to-fall retention, 77.1% vs 74% those not active in the program.
  • In the academic year 2016-2017 students who were active had a much higher fall-to-fall retention, 84.4% vs 75.1% those not active in the program.