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Collaboration Aims to Increase Fresno Students’ Success

June 3, 2016

Fresno Unified, UC Merced, Fresno State and State Center Community College District make a commitment to Central Valley students. Building on an existing seven-year partnership with UC Merced, the Fresno Unified School District is spearheading an innovative collaboration to increase the number of its students who complete their bachelor’s degrees. 

Leaders from Fresno Unified, UC Merced, Fresno State and State Center Community College District signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Thursday to work toward the goal of increasing college and career readiness for all students. The Fresno Unified Higher Education Partnership will give the four institutions the capability to share data and use it to increase students’ successful transition from high school to college, and from community college to a four-year university.

This partnership is about ensuring we keep our promise that students will be college and career ready upon graduation, and that students will graduate with the greatest number of postsecondary options from the widest array of choices,” Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Michael Hanson said. “We all have a role to play in preparing our students for college, career and life.”

A $500,000 grant from the nonprofit College Futures Foundation made the alliance a reality. The partnering institutions have also committed funds toward the project. 

In 2009, UC Merced opened an office within Fresno Unified to create a data monitoring system to provide students resources and support as early as possible. Placing staff members in Fresno Unified's Department of Equity and Access has helped the two educational systems develop and monitor student data.

UC Merced is joining this new partnership because we’ve seen firsthand how our existing seven-year partnership with Fresno Unified has made a difference,” Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Nies said, citing a 16 percent increase in first-year admit rates of Fresno Unified students to UC Merced from 2014 to 2016. 

Once they are at UC Merced, those students graduate at rates nearly 20 percent higher than the national average, Nies said.

Under the newly formed partnership, staff members from Fresno State and State Center Community College District will work beside UC Merced and district staff members to identify the most challenging barriers that keep students from transitioning successfully to college. 

Each of our institutions has a role to play in concert with one another to support the educational goals of this region,” Nies said. “United by this MOU, we can and we will do more.”


Brenda Ortiz

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