In a small office buried in Langsdorf Hall, a big transformation is taking place. There, Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Scholars Program has propelled its two-year graduation rate for its transfer student cohort to 59 percent in 2018 and 72 percent in 2019, according to the program’s records.
While these rates were achieved by a small group of students, they suggest a promising pathway to attaining the 44 percent graduation rate goal set for all transfer students by Graduation Initiative 2025, the California State University’s effort to increase graduation rates for all CSU students while eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps.
The Titan Scholars Program supports community college transfer students from low-income, first-generation and underrepresented backgrounds who wish to pursue graduate degrees. Established in 2017, the program was initially funded by a CSUF Innovation grant to advance GI 2025, and is now supported by CSUF’s Educational Partnerships Department.
“Transfer students from the target populations are more likely to have a difficult time adapting to college and accessing the resources needed to be academically successful and graduate,” explains Patricia Literte, program director and associate professor of sociology. “Transitioning from a more intimate community college setting to CSUF can be daunting, so TSP aims to provide a personalized academic enrichment and graduate school preparation experience for them.”
TSP provides academic and career planning, advising, peer mentorship and seminars on financial literacy, academic skills and graduate school.
After a year in the program, Judith Urbina, junior in psychology, says that her confidence is up. She has an academic plan in place and a support system to help her reach her goals. Required TSP assignments helped her realize the importance of utilizing resources and asking for help.
“TSP helped me overcome my hesitancy to reach out to faculty,” she admits. “After I completed the assignment requiring each Titan Scholar to have three appointments with members of CSUF faculty, I understood that they are eager to share their experiences and knowledge with students.”
Titan Scholars also find that TSP is a personal anchor for them.
“It was hard for me to go to a new school where I did not know anyone,” explains kinesiology senior Mark Anthony Miranda. “When I got an email from the Titan Scholars program, I felt like I could be a part of a community. I don’t have classes on Fridays, but I still commute by bus and train to go to school so I can make it to the TSP meetings.”
Martha Trujillo, a senior in criminal justice, adds, “Titan Scholars is more than just a program to me. It provides me with a community of people that see one another as champions, and with that, we push each other to reach higher.”
As CSUF is the number one destination for community college transfer students among all California public universities, the demand for TSP’s services is high. Currently, the program serves a cohort of 22.
Literte believes TSP uniquely elevates CSUF as an institution that meets the distinct needs of transfer students, and she hopes to find a way to serve more of them in the future.
For more information about the Titan Scholars Program, contact Patricia Literte.