The Latino Promise Program

Designed for Traditional-age Latino Students

En Español:

Teaneck, NJ (March 8, 2006) — A new program, The Latino Promise, is designed for traditional-aged Latino students entering college for the first time. Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Puerta al Futuro (Gateway to the Future) initiative announced the new associate/bachelor’s degree program today.

The Latino Promise Program offers a liberal arts education in two phases: for those who would benefit from a supportive, nurturing environment, the Latino Promise Program offers a two year, 60-credit associate degree program with an opportunity to transfer into a bachelors degree program upon successful completion of the AA degree. The Latino Promise Program also offers direct enrollment in a four-year, 120-credit bachelors degree program for those students who meet the appropriate admissions standards.

According to Petrocelli College Dean Kenneth T. Vehrkens, “The program overcomes traditional barriers to higher education for Latino students by providing encouragement, inspiration, and access to college – and then ensuring student success through innovative support tools.”

The director of the program, Deborah Gonzalez, said, “New Jersey’s Latino population is large and growing rapidly — yet language, financial, and cultural barriers have suppressed the college aspirations of many Latino youth. Nationally and in the region, Latinos lag behind members of other racial/ethnic groups in college attendance and completion rates.

“To support individuals seeking to reach their full potential, healthy communities, and the economic development of New Jersey and beyond, it is important to address this gap. The Latino Promise Program helps to meet this challenge,” she said.

Providing Inspiration and Access

The Latino Promise Program begins by educating prospective students and their communities about the possibilities of higher education – and provides the tools to attain it with student recruitment festivals, parent college workshops, and guidance counselor outreach. The parent workshop includes important information on immunizations. According to Gonzalez, many Latino students and their families do not have immunization records, or access to free or low-cost immunizations. “This is a little-known but important barrier to higher education,” she said. “The Program is addressing this issue in partnership with the Bergen County Department of Health and the Hispanic Advisory Committee.”

In addition, there is an admissions Trustee’s Scholarship. Each student selected for the program is awarded a Trustee Scholarship of $1,000, in addition to whatever additional financial aid they may receive from other sources.

Support for Success

Once a student is enrolled, important support elements are available. They include a Latino Transition Specialist dedicated to recruitment and advisement of the Latino Promise students from area high schools; the Latino Promise Seminar, a three-credit course dedicated to transition Latino students from high school to college and beyond. This seminar offers a substantive curriculum tailored to Latino students — study skills, time management, writing, library skills, information literacy, and other keys to success are incorporated in a culturally relevant course, with Latino leaders as guest speakers.

Personalized academic advisement and oversight of Latino students in the Promise program will be available. But the Program also allows for group advising – fostering peer support relationships and a strong community. In addition, a language laboratory with extensive audio-visual and CD-ROM resources is designed to enhance English language skills for Spanish speakers.

For further information, call 201 692 2500 or e-mail

Metropolitan Campus

Gretchen Johnson

Office of Public Relations
Fairleigh Dickinson University
1000 River Road
Mailstop H-DH3-15
Teaneck, NJ 07666
(201) 692-7032

285 Madison Avenue
Mailstop M-MS0-01
Madison, NJ 07940
(973) 443-8661

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This release authored with FDU Pagetoaster.