PCC Gateway to College program & students continue to excel

The Gateway to College program at Pueblo Community College is being recognized nationally for exceeding all program benchmarks for the 2021-22 academic year.

Gateway to College, part of the Achieving the Dream network, is for students ages 17-20 who weren’t successful in other learning environments. They are able to earn a high school diploma, not a GED, from their home school district while simultaneously earning college credit. The program covers the cost of tuition, supplies and books for students.

PCC’s program exceeded the benchmarks for first-term student success, one- and two-year persistence, and graduation with continued growth over time, according to a press release from Achieving the Dream. In recognition of the accomplishment, Director Jeanelle Soto-Quintana and her staff will receive the Program Excellence Award.

In 2021-22, 86% of PCC’s Gateway students passed all of their first-term courses, compared to a 44% network average. One-year persistence was 90% compared to GTC’s benchmark of 65.5% and PCC’s two-year persistence was 82% compared to a 61% benchmark. PCC’s GTC graduation rate of 79% far exceeded the network’s benchmark of 50%.

“In my 21 years with Pueblo Community College, my work with Gateway to College has been my favorite,” said Soto-Quintana. “Since 2011, I have seen our young people individually transform. Some of that can be seen in the data, but some can only be seen in their smiles and the sparkle of their eyes. The most exciting transformation is when I see my students positively affect their communities.”

Stephanie Davolos, director of GTC Network services for Achieving the Dream, noted in the press release that the three-year graduation rate tracking means students included in the 2021-22 data first enrolled in 2019-20.

“(M)any of the students included in your graduation rate … earned their high school diploma during the first full year of the COVID pandemic, with many crossing the graduation stage via Zoom,” said Davolos. “Also, the first-term GPA and one-year persistence rates … are for students who achieved those outcomes during the pandemic.”
PCC works with eight Colorado school districts to offer the Gateway program at its Pueblo, Fremont and Southwest campuses.
“I am grateful to work with a wonderful team that sees the possibility in all students,” Soto-Quintana said. “I love the fact that all of us get to make a difference in our communities that we serve.” 

Fifty-nine students will graduate from the GTC program this year. On average, each student earns 25 to 29 college credits by the time they receive their high school diploma.

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