Female student with blue notebook

Aiming for college – with a helping hand

A program for low-income Latina high school students in California’s Central Coast is designed to close the educational achievement gap

Along California’s Central Coast, the nonprofit People’s Self-Help Housing (PSHH) began as a way to help farmworkers, low-income families, seniors, veterans and other residents find a home, be it an affordable rental or a house to own. But the organization’s mission now extends to an array of programs designed to improve the lives of the people who live in those homes.

This includes a focus on education, with K-12 programs offered at 10 on-site learning centers. As part of that, PSHH is tackling a long-standing problem in the largely Hispanic/Latino community it serves: the college achievement gap, especially among women.

Just 26% of Latinas have college degrees, compared with more than half of white women, according to the Education Trust.footnote1 The reasons can include everything from a lack of confidence and dueling family responsibilities to discrimination, language barriers and lack of economic resources.footnote2 With a program called CELEBRE (College Enrollment for Latinas Entering Bright Rewarding Educations), PSHH is inspiring Latina high school students to aim for college — and equipping them with the resources they need to pursue a degree.

CELEBRE assists students with everything from selecting a college and filling out applications to enrolling and financing the cost. The students, most of whom will be first-generation college grads, are assigned mentors to guide them along the way. During college, support continues with teleconferences throughout the academic year and in-person check-ins during academic breaks. Parents are also part the process so that they can understand what’s ahead on the educational journey — and help prepare their daughters for a bright future. Support for this program is part of Bank of America’s $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to advance equality and economic opportunity.

Listening to Latinas: Barriers to High School Graduation,” The National Women's Law Center and Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, 2009



Explore more

Learn more about Gospel, hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

A film as soulful as its subject

GOSPEL, hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., shares the powerful story of gospel music. ​A sound that defines a faith, a people, a movement.
Construction worker working on site

Building an engine of economic growth

Downtown Madison’s new Black Business Hub aims to empower local entrepreneurs — and help close the region’s opportunity gap
Two women smiling

Advancing economic opportunity for minority entrepreneurs

See how Bank of America’s partnership with Sweet Auburn Works is helping Revitalize Retail in the Sweet Auburn Historic District.
showing element 1 of 3