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UMKC and the Hispanic Development Fund support first-generation Hispanic students' success

UMKC & Ad Astra achieving equitable outcomes for first-gen students

Fast Facts

    • 47% increase in lifetime credits
  • 3 more credits per semester on average
  • 2.37 times more likely to graduate


The Challenge:

First-gen Hispanic students tackle systemic barriers alone in higher ed

Hispanic/Latino students face a number of systemic barriers when choosing to attend college. This includes a daunting admissions process, laborious registration, and inflexible schedules that don’t always align with work commitments and caregiving for children and families. As first-generation college students, these individuals often navigate this process alone and face issues of belonging.


The Solution:

UMKC aims for equity in first-gen grad rates with data-driven schedules.

In 2018, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) set a goal to improve equitable outcomes among its first-generation college students. To boost graduation rates for this population, UMKC took an inventory of student success resources to address the most significant completion drivers.


“Ad Astra helps us eliminate equity gaps by providing data to create conflict-free, student-centered schedules that fit the complex lives of today’s students.”

Senior Associate Registrar, University of Missouri - Kansas City


When the course schedule was identified as a completion factor, UMKC chose to partner with Ad Astra to create data-informed, student-centered schedules. The partnership will assist UMKC in eliminating equity gaps by providing the ability to longitudinally track key metrics, including credit attempts, DFW rates, and time to completion. By disaggregating these metrics by race, UMKC gains additional insight into the efficacy of its student success efforts.



Our partnership with UMKC and Ad Astra will allow us to use Degree Velocity® to determine how to boost the success of our HDF students in the most timely and cost-effective manner possible.



Executive Director,
Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund


HDF Scholarship Student Profile

  • 80% are first-generation college students
  • Students have a 3.4 GPA
  • 14% are undocumented learners (Dreamers)
  • 64% live in Kansas
  • 36% live in Missouri

With equitable outcomes in mind, the university partnered with the Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund (HDF) to identify what interventions were needed for Hispanic/Latino students and when those interventions are necessary to galvanize student success. UMKC’s equity work also includes a number of Student Success Services that offer engagement resources designed to support first-gen college students through mentoring and career services.

UMKC’s First Gen Roo program provides academic support and mentoring for first-generation students, and the Avanzando mentoring program connects students with peers and community mentors. In addition to HDF’s scholarship fundraising program, students can also access Kansas City-based scholarship programs from the KC Scholars and Bloch Scholars.


About the Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund

The Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund (HDF) works to improve the lives of Latino families by engaging the Latino community in philanthropy to build stronger communities through grantmaking and scholarship support. Each year, HDF awards supplemental scholarships to Latino students who graduate from a metropolitan high school. Since its founding in 1984, the organization has awarded more than $1.7 million in scholarships. 


School Background

As an urban research university, our mission at the University of Missouri-Kansas City is to promote learning through the discovery, preservation and dissemination of knowledge of public value across a broad spectrum of disciplines and fields of study. UMKC celebrates the individual and embodies diversity and inclusion by intertwining these goals with innovation to enable transformational impact aimed at bringing cultural, social, health and economic prosperity to the metropolitan, regional and global communities we serve.

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Ad Astra is the trusted partner of colleges and universities committed to graduating more students faster. ​Through data-informed planning and course scheduling, we empower institutions to remove barriers to completion while also ensuring financial sustainability.


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