By Melanie Balog
George Mason University
The Cisneros Center for New Americans and George Mason University have formed a partnership to make higher education more accessible to immigrant and first generation college students.
The two organizations will pilot a framework for a â€œWelcoming Universityâ€ in which they will pursue mutual goals of expanding access to higher education by increasing the number of first generation college students, adapting and improving higher education to better meet the needs of diverse students, and empowering immigrants and the children of immigrants and â€œNew Americansâ€ to better their lives through education.
Masonâ€™s New Century College and Institute for Immigration Research will lead this initiative. Mason will promote learning and community-building that integrate research, discovery, and open-ended problem solving in real-world contexts that apply directly to the lives of immigrants and first-generation college students.
â€œMason welcomes the opportunity to join with the Cisneros Center for New Americans,â€ said President Ãngel Cabrera. â€œThrough this collaboration, we take an important step in recognizing the impressive socioeconomic and political contributions new Americans make, especially in our metro D.C. area.â€
Mason is especially positioned to empower immigrant families and their children, said Nicolas Perilla, president of the Cisneros Center for New Americans.
â€œThis partnership seeks to ensure that the American Dream remains a reality for anyone who is willing to work hard and improve our nation,â€ Perilla said.
Lisa Gring-Pemble, dean of New Century College, said that the partnership demonstrates Masonâ€™s commitment to accessible education.
â€œOur work with the Cisneros Center helps Mason leverage our ideal location and unique campus demographics to work toward teaching innovation and research of consequence.â€
The Cisneros Center for New Americans is a nonpartisan, nonprofit institution headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, which was founded by Henry G. Cisneros, a long-time advocate of immigrant integration. The centerâ€™s mission is to ensure that all Americans, whether native born or adopted by our nation, have the opportunity to achieve their American dream.