Puente Project - University of California-Berkeley

University of California-Berkeley
Academic Level
Issue Area
Key Personnel
Program Focus
College Prep


The mission of the Puente Project is to increase the numbers of educationally underserved students who enroll in four year universities and colleges, earn their degrees and return to their communities as leaders and mentors to future generations. Puente was founded in 1981.

Program Description

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. The Puente Project 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. Practices include rigorous language arts instruction with a culturally relevant and engaging curriculum; sustained academic counseling; structured participation in mentoring and student leadership activities and community service.  


Latino students in this program persist at higher rates than Latinos not served by the program and transfer to four-year institutions at higher rates than other underrepresented students.

  • 80% of all Puente high school graduates gained admission to two and four-year colleges compared with 64% of all CA high school graduates and 58% of all CA Hispanic high school graduates. 
  • In 2017-18, 74% of Puente high school graduates completed the ‘a-g’ course pattern which is required for admission to California’s four-year public universities.  (rate for California underrepresented students and all California high school graduates is 42% and 50%, respectively).
  • Puente students maintain enrollment continuity more often than all California Community College (CCC) students statewide.  More than eight in ten, or 83% of Puente students enrolled in three continuous terms compared with 76% of all CCC students statewide. 

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