College Completion: The Latino Edition

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The College Completion Agenda - Latino Edition

College Board

This new reports looks at what can be done to increase the number of Latinos graduating from college since currently Latinos  ages 25 to 34 lag far behind other groups with only 19.2 percent attaining at least an associate degree compared with 41.1 percent for the age group as a whole.

The report was released as part of the College Board’s campaign to have at least 55 percent of 25- to 34-year-old American’s hold a postsecondary degree by 2025.  The report centers on 10 recommendations meant to help achieve this goal.

In contrast to Latinos, the percentages of Asians, whites and African-Americans ages 25 to 34 with a postsecondary credential are 69.1 percent, 48.7 percent and 29.4 percent, respectively. In 2007 just over 2 million Latino students enrolled in degree-granting institutions.  This number is expected to rise to 3.3 million by 2019. 

The College Board’s College Completion Agenda suggests that a program of voluntary preschool education that is universally available to children from low-income families should be provided.  One of the most pressing education-related issues in the Latino community is access to quality preschool for Latino children.  In 2006-2008 only 38.5 percent of Latino children ages 3 and 4 were enrolled in preschool or kindergarten programs. 

The agenda also hopes to improve middle and high school counseling, which would benefit Latino students by helping bridge the information gap about course and academic preparation needed to make a transition into college. 

The agenda’s third recommendation is to implement a dropout prevention program that which is beneficial to the Latino community, because Latino students represent the largest group of high school dropouts.   

Next, the Commission suggests the K-12 education system be better aligned with international standards and college admission expectations, which would help Latino students to keep up with their peers and be better prepared for college. 

If teacher quality and focus on their recruitment and retention is improved, Latino students would be less likely to receive poor teaching. Now, Latino students are most likely to attend poorly resourced schools and have below-average teachers.

The agenda suggests clarifying and simplifying the college admissions process and making it easily accessible on the Internet.  That would benefit Latino students not only because they would notice an expanded availability of applications, but also because the students and their families could complete the applications in either English or Spanish.

Latinos would benefit from more grant aid and a simpler financial aid system. More aid would let students attend better schools and require that they work less during their time in college. Commission said keeping college affordable is a key component of increasing two- and four-year college enrollment and completion rates among Latino students.

Lastly, the Commission wants to provide postsecondary opportunities as an essential element of adult education programs as well as make these programs more easily accessible such as online where different languages are available for the classes. That would make earning a postsecondary credential easier and more appealing to Latinos.

To read a free copy of this study click here.