The AZ HSI Consortium is pleased to announce New Start as an AZ HSI Evidence Based Practice. After careful review from colleagues across the state of AZ, New Start was shown to be an effective program in moving the needle towards greater college access, persistence, retention, transfer, and degree attainment for Latinx students in Arizona.
Please read below to learn more about the New Start program at the University of Arizona.
Overview of Institution
The University of Arizona lies at the heart of central Tucson and is a research-intensive institution. Roughly 40,000 students attend the university and it offers over 300 undergraduate majors, 500 clubs and organizations, and many other ways for students to get involved. In 2018, UArizona received the HSI designation, enrolling over 12,000 Hispanic and/or Latinx students in Fall 2021. 75% of these Hispanic and Latinx students are Arizona residents, and roughly a third are first-generation students.
Overview of Program
New Start was established at the University of Arizona in 1969 as part of an effort to support first-generation students, students who have been systemically excluded, and students from low-income backgrounds. The goal is to center these students' strengths and assets to provide a sense of belonging, unveil the hidden curriculum, build a coordinated network of support, and give students a strong academic transition into their college experience. The program offers an on-campus housing component in which participants share a building exclusively with other students in the program to build community, though this component is optional. All students receive 6-7 credits and make progress on their general education requirements while also taking a common "Topics in Leadership" course centering communication, social justice, and explorations of identity. This leadership course is co-facilitated by a Peer Mentor who leads small group discussions and activities in addition to providing 1:1 mentoring for students. Students also have opportunities for strong financial aid packages through our Pell Promise program, Tuition Scholarship, and funds generated by years of alumni and passionate supporters of the program.
Is the program grant funded? No
Areas program seeks to make an impact and how
Enrollment: Through strategic recruitment, local (AZ) students who are likely to qualify for our Pell Promise program. This covers any gaps for tuition, mandatory fees, and dorms for students who are eligible for any amount of Pell funding (EFC < 5200). Many of these students are also eligible for Pell Pledge, or the Arizona Assurance program which works to fill any gaps during the academic year. The result is that we are able to enroll roughly 200-300 students each summer, some of whom did not realize there were opportunities to clear any financial obstacles.
Retention: We invite students to continue into our academic year mentoring programs after and aim for their summer experience to be a strong foundation for their future success. 89% of our students in 2020 came back to UA after their first year compared to 77% of overall students in a similar peer ground. 92% of our 2021 cohort returned to UA after their fall semester.
How does this program center servingness?
Our target population is local and tends to include strong Hispanic/Latinx representation. The Pell Promise program (filling any gaps in tuition and fees for Pell eligible students) increases access for students and reduces financial barriers. There is also a strong commitment to community-building through peer mentorship, social events, and the residential component, which helps students feel that they belong on campus. Our staff and instructors are trained within the lenses of the funds of knowledge framework, growth mindset, and critical race theory, educating our staff on the challenges and barriers our community may face. Through this, our staff are able to have culturally aware conversations, center students' strengths, and build a sense of community. We also partner with the Basic Needs Center to support and students facing housing insecurity, hunger, or need for additional clothing or hygienic items.