Fresno State joined a national network focused on closing the academic achievement gap between white and underrepresented minority students and increasing graduation rates.

The Education Trust today launched OASIS (Optimizing Academic Success and Institutional Strategy), an initiative that mobilizes 11 regional, comprehensive institutions that serve large populations of underrepresented minority students to collectively improve graduation rates.

“The success of our talented and diverse students — the next generation of leaders — is Fresno State’s highest priority. We have increased our graduation rate from 48 percent to over 58 percent in the past two years, and our bold goal is to achieve a 70 percent graduation rate by 2023. We are pleased to join OASIS with 10 other universities around the nation to share high-impact strategies that benefit our students, faculty and staff,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro.

“A college degree is the surest path to upward mobility. Yet only half of Latino and black students who start college with the intent to earn a bachelor’s do so within six years,” said Bonita J. Brown, former vice chancellor and chief of staff at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and current Ed Trust director of higher education practice. “To help more students achieve their educational dreams, colleges must transform their practices to better serve their students. The OASIS institutions are tackling that challenge head on.”

The OASIS network will enable senior university leaders to work together to analyze each college’s data, share insights and expand the use of evidence-based practices on their campuses. This network comprises four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), six Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) and one urban research institution serving a large number of minorities.

The participating institutions are:

  • Fresno State (HSI)
  • California State University, Fullerton (HSI)
  • Florida A&M University (HBCU)
  • Florida International University (HSI)
  • Morgan State University (HBCU)
  • North Carolina A&T State University (HBCU)
  • North Carolina Central University (HBCU)
  • Queens College, City University of New York (HSI)
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley(HSI)
  • University of Houston (HSI)
  • University of Memphis

The network is convened by Ed Trust with support from the Lumina Foundation. It is chaired by Dr. Mildred García, president of California State University, Fullerton.

OASIS institutions will come together multiple times to explore best practices in student success in such areas as data analysis, student advising and developmental math interventions. Over time, they’ll share their experiences and lessons learned with a wider range of institutions.

“We’re honored to work alongside these leading institutions in their efforts to improve retention and graduation rates and to share what we have learned with other colleges and universities across the country,” said José Luis Santos, Ed Trust vice president of higher education policy and practice. “We know that institutions that prioritize student success do better. Period. And those that focus particular energy on underrepresented groups of students do better by them.”

For more information contact Gail Zuagar at 202.293.1217, ext. 373 or