The PUENTE Project


The PUENTE Project is a national-award winning program that has helped tens of thousands of educationally disadvantaged students enroll in four-year colleges and universities, earn degrees, and return to the community as leaders and mentors to future generations. Begun in 1981, Puente combines accelerated instruction, intensive academic counseling, and community leadership opportunities.

The PUENTE Project helps to prepare educationally disadvantaged students for college admission and success through its combination of accelerated instruction, intensive academic counseling, and opportunities for community leadership. Puente is open to all students.

  • In 2009–10, the transfer rate of PUENTE participants was 56%, compared to 44% for all CCC students and 34% of educationally disadvantaged students.

  • The number of transfers to four-year college or university continues to increase: 573 PUENTE Community College participants transferred in 2009 compared to 397 in 2001, approximately a 44% increase

  • PUENTE students passed the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) at a significantly higher rate than all students statewide — 97% of PUENTE students passed the English exam compared to 81% in the state, and 96% passed the Math exam compared to 81% in the state.

"As an ESL student, PUENTE held my hand and walked me through the bridge of the English barrier to cross on the other side of a four year Institution called CSUSB. My expected graduation is in June 2013. Once a Puentista, always a Puentista!"

—Claudia Martinez,
Riverside City College

"PUENTE has shown me the value of '¡Sí Se Puede!', a phrase that echoes daily in my mind. PUENTE has taught me that anything can be accomplished with hard work and dedication, and has given me the power to transfer this fall to UC, with the hope of going to law school in the future… PUENTE has indeed changed my life."

—Jaime Ruiz-Rubio,
Chicano Studies/History Major,
UC Riverside

PUENTE is funded via three revenue streams, two of which are via California State legislature’s SAPEP program and The University of California. The third is via private grants.

Over three eventful decades PUENTE has won accolades for its approach to helping underserved students thrive academically–by holding high expectations, valuing cultural and social capital, and ensuring that students and their families have critical college-going information and guidance. Puente reaches high schools and community college as far north as Redding, CA and as far south as the border with Mexico.

Learn more about The PUENTE Project.