Southwestern College Closes Equity Gaps for Latinx Students

Graduation cap that says "First Generation"

Southwestern College has closed equity gaps and increased success rates for Latinx students taking English and math courses by broadening access to transfer-level and gateway courses, according to a new report by the Public Policy Institute of California

Southwestern College is one of 13 community colleges in California and the only college in San Diego County to “completely close gaps for Latino students in one-term throughout rates in fall 2019” compared to data from fall 2015.

“We continue to make progress in realizing our vision that Southwestern College is the leader in equitable education that transforms the lives of students and communities,” said Superintendent/President Kindred Murillo. “This progress is due to the heart and soul of our district — our faculty, staff, and administrators. Together they commit themselves to creating equitable education for every student who attends Southwestern College.”

The report by the Public Policy Institute of California examines the effects of California AB705, a landmark law passed in 2017 that gives community college students access to transfer-level and gateway English and math courses. The report explored how AB705 transformed student access, outcomes, and racial equity in fall 2019 at community colleges across California. 

Findings from the report and the three-page summary include:

  • Access to college composition is now nearly universal.
  • Equity gaps in access to college composition have narrowed.
  • More students are successfully completing college composition.
  • Access to transfer-level math more than doubled between fall 2018 and fall 2019.
  • Racial inequities in access to transfer-level math have narrowed.
  • As with college composition, more students are successfully completing transfer-level math.
  • Corequisite courses,  in which students receive additional academic support while enrolled in a transfer-level course, are more effective than traditional remediation.
  • Progress is across the board, but racial inequities persist.

The report also outlines work needed to be done across the California community college system to increase student access and success in college-level courses. The recommendations include refocusing academic advising and counseling, learning to serve students from diverse backgrounds and prioritizing closing equity gaps in students facing inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.