Puente at Foothill College

Punete Logo Puente (Spanish for "bridge") is a national-award winning program that has helped thousands of students reach their dreams of college success. Puente was founded in 1981 by Felix Galaviz and Patricia McGrath at Chabot Community College in Hayward, California. Their goal was to increase the number of Mexican American and Latino students who transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Since then, Puente has expanded to 56 community colleges and 38 high schools throughout California, and tens of thousands of students have been served. The Puente Program at Foothill College, first launched in 2000, continues the legacy of creating community and transferring students to 4-year colleges, through implementation of the Puente mission and model.

Puente's Mission
The mission of the Puente Project is to increase the number of educationally underserved students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities, earn degrees, and return to the community as leaders and mentors to future generations. Puente is open to all interested students.

The Puente Program Model
Three components work together to prepare students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities:
  1. ENGLISH INSTRUCTION. Puente students take two consecutive writing classes offered through Language Arts, English 104A, English 104B, and English 1A. These classes provide a supportive and stimulating environment for Puente students, with an emphasis on developing writing skills through an exploration of the Mexican American/ Latino experience.

  2. COUNSELING. Puente students work closely with their Puente counselor to explore career options, develop an academic educational plan and identify their goals through the Puente Personal Development course, as well as individual counseling sessions. Students visit campuses of the University of California and other four -year colleges and attend an annual Puente student transfer conference.

  3. MENTORING/SERVICE LEARNING. Puente students are matched with an academically and professionally successful mentor or community agency. Mentors share with the students how they managed to succeed in the educational system, how they succeed as professionals while maintaining their cultural identity. Through Service Learning, where students volunteer their time for college credit, they enhance their academic experience while giving back to the community.

Puente Students

  • Know what it takes to succeed in college
  • Belong to a statewide network of leaders and professionals
  • Participate in college tours, conferences, and cultural events

Community College Program Results

  • Puente students are three times as likely to succeed (i.e., earn a grade of C or better) in pre-transfer-level English and 35% more likely to succeed in transfer-level English than are non-Puente community college students enrolled in such courses

  • Nearly 90% of students are retained in community college for a year following participation in Puente; 73% are retained 2 years after completing the program

  • Between 1999 and 2003, Puente transfers to four-year institutions grew by 67%

  • In 2003, transfers to UC increased 55% from the previous year (73 to 116)

For More Information...

Contact the Puente Counselor in the Student Development Center.

Voltaire Villanueva
(650) 949-7428
Room 8316

Want to become a Puente Mentor? Click here to go to our online form.

Puente Project Student Information Sheet (pdf file)

Puente is co-sponsored by the California Community Colleges and the University of California.

Top of page

Student Services

Student Rights
Student Conduct
Student Support Services
Mentoring & Peer Support