La Salle University

Posted on March 1, 2009

BUSCA and ACHIEVE Programs

At a gathering on the campus of La Salle University in February 2008, Newcombe Foundation staff met with a group of Mature Students who shared heartfelt stories of the impact that the Newcombe Scholarships have had on their lives. Many expressed the fact that without the financial assistance of the Newcombe Scholarship, they would have had to drop out of college and give up their dreams of achieving a college degree. Many of these women, overwhelmed by their emotional journeys through personal, academic and financial challenges, lauded the BUSCA and ACHIEVE programs at La Salle for providing them a path to reaching their goals. The Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation has partnered with La Salle University since 1981 to support and meet the needs of these inspiring students.

Founded in 1863, La Salle University (then La Salle College) launched its Evening Division for adult learners in 1946. At the time, La Salle was one of the first colleges in the country to offer adult students the opportunity to attain a bachelor’s degree by attending class exclusively in the evening. In 1968, the Evening Division admitted women for the first time, and shortly thereafter La Salle established its Continuing Education for Women Program, a special initiative to facilitate the transition to college for adult women, many of them African American, who resided in the neighborhoods close to the campus in Northwest Philadelphia. In 2005, the Evening Division became the College of Professional and Continuing Studies, which educates adult learners seeking bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a variety of fields and also offers an array of certificate programs.

The College of Professional and Continuing Studies at La Salle University is structured and administered to meet the changing educational needs of adult learners seeking the best in lifelong learning. Programs are tailored to meet the scheduling needs of adults who are often balancing careers, families, and other responsibilities. Two of the most successful programs, BUSCA and ACHIEVE, enroll a large percentage of women students who are or have been Newcombe Scholars.

The BUSCA program (Bilingual Undergraduate Studies for Collegiate Advancement) is an innovative program that offers Philadelphia’s growing Spanish-speaking community the degree of Associate of Arts with a concentration in English for Academic Purposes. This program fulfills the core requirements of the School of Arts and Sciences and facilitates a student’s transition to a bachelor’s degree program. Students begin this program with a 12-credit intensive English course and then transition to classes held entirely in English. BUSCA students study full time for five semesters, attending evening classes to allow them to continue to work during the day. The program provides tutors, a full-time bilingual financial aid counselor, and part-time motivational and academic counselors.

BUSCA reflects the University’s Lasallian and Catholic mission by educating and empowering Hispanic students so that they can prosper spiritually, socially, professionally, and economically. Since its inception in 1993, more than 500 students have enrolled in this program. Many BUSCA students, 60 percent of whom are female, complete their associate’s degrees and continue on for bachelor’s degrees through the College of Professional and Continuing Studies. Of the 28 students who graduated in January 2008, 25 enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program at La Salle.

La Salle University

Graduates of La Salle University’s Bilingual Undergraduate Studies for Collegiate Advancement (BUSCA) program prepare to receive their Associate of Arts degrees at the University’s Commencement ceremony in May 2008. Many BUSCA graduates enroll in bachelor’s degree programs at La Salle.

Judith Carbonell, a 2007 graduate of the University and currently a graduate student in the Bilingual/Bicultural Studies program at La Salle University, commented in the Summer 2008 La Salle Magazine on the impact that the BUSCA program had on her life. “I was searching to fulfill my goal to continue my education, and to me BUSCA opened the door to my future to find a better living and a better job as a Latin American in this country,” she said.

The ACHIEVE Program began in January 2002 in an effort to meet the needs of the working adult who wanted to attend an evening and weekend Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program. The program started with 12 students, and today there are approximately 400 enrolled at La Salle’s Main Campus in Northwest Philadelphia and at the Bucks County Center in Newtown, Pa. The program is a basic BSN in which the students take nine clinical courses and four non-clinical courses. Students eligible for the ACHIEVE Program are those new to nursing, career changers, and licensed practical nurses, all of whom wish to complete the program with classes in the evening or on the weekend.

The ACHIEVE program is currently composed of approximately 80 percent women who are juggling careers and families while earning their degrees in nursing. Close to 60 percent are minority students. Many of these students face enormous financial challenges. For the 2008–09 academic year, more than half of La Salle’s Newcombe scholarship recipients are nursing majors.

La Salle University

Graduates of La Salle University’s ACHIEVE program earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and are prepared to provide professional nursing care, which includes health promotion and maintenance, illness care, restoration, rehabilitation, and health counseling.

Karen Egan, an ACHIEVE student and a single parent pursuing nursing as a second career, said the flexibility of the ACHIEVE program has allowed her to work while attending classes and clinicals and raising her family. “It’s definitely a challenge trying to balance kids, school, work, and activities, but I know all this hard work will eventually pay off for me and my family,” she said. “It’s a meaningful and rewarding opportunity to be in nursing school and to have received the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation Scholarship, which has financially helped me attain my nursing education here at La Salle University.”

The access, opportunity, and support offered to mature women by the BUSCA and ACHIEVE programs at La Salle University exemplify this institution’s commitment to the nontraditional student seeking a college degree.

Please visit the La Salle University web site for more information about the BUSCA and ACHIEVE programs.