BYU focuses on helping multicultural students succeed

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SOAR is just one of BYU’s programs to support multicultural students. (Photo courtesy of Multicultural Student Services)

A recent report found that providing support for multicultural and low-income students helps them succeed at a university level.

The Education Trust, a national advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., released the report in January to examine how universities can improve graduation rates over a sustained period of time for minority and low-income students. It also states that the universities where this is most successful typically have campus leadership actively committed to making these students’ success a priority.

Nicole Grayson, director of communications, said while the report focuses on eight specific universities throughout the country, its effects can be universally applied.

“Students of color and low-income students are just two groups who can be sometimes overlooked in the education process,” Grayson said. “It’s important for universities, whether they be large or small, public or private, to provide opportunities for success to those student groups, and that certainly applies to BYU as well.”

According to BYU’s Statement on Fostering an Enriched Environment, “the University seeks qualified students of various talents and backgrounds, including geographic, educational, cultural, ethnic and racial (backgrounds).” The university believes providing educational opportunities for students from a wide variety of backgrounds helps those students become assets to BYU.

These educational opportunities provided by the university include the SOAR program, a college prep program for students who have historically lacked opportunities in higher education, and the Multicultural Student Services Department.

Alessandra Cuneo, a sociology major, said her experience in SOAR helped prepare her to come to BYU.

“Before SOAR, I was unsure about coming to BYU,” Cuneo said. “Once I came to SOAR, I had more of an understanding of life here. I also realized I was not the only minority applying to BYU.”

Once she was admitted to the university, Cuneo also said, the Mulitcultural Student Services office has helped her succeed as a student.

“The Multicultural Student Services department really helps minority students because it gives us a home away from home, in a way,” she said. “They’re constantly hosting events to create a sense of unity, and it’s worked in my life. Everyone I met through SOAR and the MSS department has become really ingrained in my life. I know my experience at BYU would be different without them rooting for me.”

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