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UCO Earns National 'Student Success and College Completion' Award for Hispanic Success Initiative

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Aug. 15, 2017

Media Contact: Sarah Neese, Communications and Marketing Coordinator, UCO University Communications, 405-974-2121,

UCO Earns National ‘Student Success and College Completion’ Award for Hispanic Success Initiative           

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) today announced the University of Central Oklahoma as one of its 2017 Excellence and Innovation Award winners. Central was recognized, alongside California State University, Fresno, with the Student Success and College Completion Award, specifically for the creation and continued efforts of its Hispanic Success Initiative (HSI). The awards will be presented Oct. 22 at the opening session of AASCU’s Annual Meeting in La Jolla, California.           

Created in 2015, HSI facilitates community events, a service-learning project, conference presentations and discussions and exercises with peers and mentors for 40 Hispanic students each year – comprised of incoming freshmen and transfer students, selected based on risk factors of first generation status, low income or low grade-point average. In just its first year, the program saw an increased retention rate, as well as improved GPAs, among HSI participants, with 92.7 percent of HSI students from Fall 2015 returning for Fall 2016, compared to 73.1 percent for Hispanic undergraduate students and 75.6 percent for all undergraduate students.  

“Central is focused on its ethos of inclusion, collaboration and respect across the institution, recognizing the unique and individual value of each of our traditional and non-traditional students. This is directly reflected in the progressive efforts of the Hispanic Success Initiative, and the award recognition is well-deserved for all those involved,” said UCO President Don Betz.

AASCU is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of more than 400 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations and dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.

Now in its fourth year, the AASCU awards program honors member institutions for excellence and innovation in seven major areas of campus life and leadership: teacher education; civic learning and community engagement; international education; leadership development and diversity; regional and economic development; student success and college completion; and sustainability and sustainable development.

For more information about AASCU, visit

For more information about UCO’s Hispanic Success Initiative, visit