BY Maria Marroquin
The Hispanic Outlook on Education magazine ranked East Los Angeles College #2 nationally out of 100 colleges and universities for Hispanics in their August issue.
HO is a monthly magazine founded in 1990 by Jose Lopez-Isa and it focuses on promoting higher education for Hispanics.
It is well-known for its annual publication of the Top 100 colleges and universities awarding degrees to Hispanic students.
ELAC surpassed other California colleges such as, Mount San Antonio College, placed at #5, Cerritos College, placed at #8 and Long Beach City College, placed at #10.
ELAC lost the number-one spot to Lone Star College Systems, a set of college campuses in Texas made up of five colleges: LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris LSC-CyFair and LSC-Tomball.
These five colleges collectively have a number of 27,160 Hispanic students, while ELAC campus alone has 26,072 students.
The magazine’s ranking is based on headcount rather than percentage.
The comparison comes from data imputed by colleges into a system called Managing Information System.
They compare the data from colleges nationwide and with a specific set of criteria they are able to determine the placement of each college.
“We continue to try to improve the quality, from the way the campus looks, the construction we’ve had the last few years to the programs we offer and as a result, people choose to stay here,” ELAC
President Marvin Martinez said.
Martinez also talked about how the ranking seemed unfair due to the fact that Lone Star College Systems is made out of a number of college campuses and ELAC is just one campus.
“We try to keep the campus clean and that has a lot of impact in the way the campus looks and feels. Number two is not bad,” Martinez said.
“Everyone wants to go to a campus that has state-of-the-art facilities, that are modern and meet the technological needs students have.”
Over the years, ELAC has created new programs to motivate students to transfer such as the University of California, Los Angeles summer program.
In this program, students get to live on the UCLA campus during the summer and take classes which helps students get a first-hand experience on what college life can be after ELAC.
As a result, transfer rates doubled due to students talking about it and more people wanting to experience the same thing.
ELAC continues to increase relationships with different universities in an effort to help students achieve greater success.
Another example is the Washington, D.C Gateway Internship Program.
This program offers two to four ELAC students to go to Washington, D.C. during the summer and participate in the legislative, political and administrative process.
The program includes free travel, room and board, and stipend.
ELAC’s success comes from students and faculty collectively and actively promoting the college outside of campus.
Getting the community interested in what the campus has to offer is important for students to feel more inclined to be involved in school.
“We can’t rely on one recruitment method alone, so we work closely with our high schools [by] offering ELAC courses and field trips. We market the campus [and] we do orientations; that gets students talking about it,” Martinez said.
“We’ve been doing that extensively and in a substantial fashion. As a result, a high amount of our enrollment comes from what we do at the high schools.”
All of these efforts contribute to a higher ranking, which helps the college when applying for grants.
“It is also important to consider the student life here on campus. We have about 80 student clubs on campus [and] sports are a big thing. It makes a big difference,” Martinez said.
“There’s a lot of ways for students to be involved and make friends, whether from this part of town or another part of the world. Research shows that the more students are involved, the more likely they are to succeed.”
Martinez also said that future plans are in the horizon for the next five years to continue to improve ELAC.