Orange Coast College Recognized as “Equity Champion” for Latinx Students Looking to Transfer

OCC Marketing and Public Relations
Nov 4, 2021
  • News Release
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The Campaign for College Opportunity has named Orange Coast College a 2021 “Equity Champion for Excellence in Transfer” for Latinx students. OCC will be recognized at the research and policy organization’s annual “Champions of Higher education for Excellence in Transfer” virtual celebration on Nov. 16.

“We are proud to be included on the list of colleges and universities being recognized as leaders in the state for facilitating transfer for Latinx student populations to four-year programs of study,” says OCC President Angelica Suarez. “OCC’s commitment to equity and inclusion is a top priority, and that includes working to remove barriers for underserved student populations who are working toward a four-year degree.”

Students who identify as Hispanic or Latino make up the largest student demographic at OCC. From 2009 to 2019 the percentage of Hispanic and Latinx students at Coast increased substantially, from 21.8 percent to 34.9 percent.

The College has many programs designed to support underserved student populations reach their goals, such as the Transfer Center/Transfer Opportunity Program. The Transfer Center’s TOP program, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, provides specialized resources and support for cohorts of incoming high school students including counseling, course offerings teaching students how to be successful in college, and events specifically tailored for parents, guardians, and supporters. “Many of the students in OCC’s TOP program have additional barriers that they face compared to their peers, including life circumstances that affect their educational goals” says TOP program coordinator Linda Bagatourian.

Resources aimed at supporting underserved student populations, such as first-generation Hispanic and Latinx students, include OCC’s Pirates’ Promise program, which grants two years of free tuition to all first-time college students taking 12 units or more, and OCC’s Zero-Textbook-Cost initiative, which offers students the option of taking classes that have no materials costs, such as textbooks. OCC also provides basic needs support through its Pirates’ Cove Food Pantry and Laptop Loan program.

“Our goal is to create an environment of inclusion and belonging for all OCC students, faculty, staff and administrators, and to engage in our planning and processes through a racial justice and equity lens,” says President Suarez. “This is a holistic approach that starts with our Education Master Plan, and is guided by the work of OCC’s participatory governance committees, as well as our Equity and Inclusion Task Force.”

Orange Coast College is the top transfer community college in Orange County for combined transfers to the California State University and University of California systems. In 2019-2020, associate degrees for transfer made up approximately 21.6 percent of all degrees awarded at OCC.

The Champions of Higher Education and Equity Champions for Excellence in Transfer celebration honors California Community College and California State University campuses leading the state in Associate Degree for Transfer implementation. The event also will feature students, policymakers, and college leaders who will discuss the importance of continuing to strengthen and scale the Associate Degree for Transfer via faithful implementation of landmark legislation, AB 928.

The Campaign for College Opportunity is a nonprofit advocacy and policy organization focused on a single mission: Working to ensure all Californians have an equal opportunity to attend and succeed in college in order to build a vibrant workforce, economy and democracy. To learn more, visit