LatinaLista — When it comes to higher education, Latinos always seem to lag behind the pack. Recent reports reveal that only 10 percent of Latinos have earned a bachelor’s degree, while Latinas are outpacing Latinos in college enrollment.
This disparity in genders and graduation rates among ethnicities serves as a window into what the future holds for this nation’s economy since Latinos will be the majority in the labor force. It’s a scary situation if something isn’t done to get more Latinos and Latinas to go to college and earn higher degrees.
Florida is already seeing the impact of a Latino population with low education.
In a new report titled Florida: Policy Options to Accelerate Latino Student Success in Higher Education, released by Excelencia in Education, researchers say that if things continue as they are Florida’s economy won’t be able to remain economically competitive.
In 2008, 37 percent of Floridans 25 to 64 years of age had earned an associate’s degree or higher. Given that a large portion of the demographic growth in Florida through 2030 will be Hispanic, the state’s economic competitiveness will be highly dependent on the educational attainment of this population. However, the educational attainment of Hispanics in Florida is low. In 2008, about 23 percent of Hispanics 25 and over in Florida had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.
It’s a scenario that could easily be repeated in Texas, California, New Mexico, etc. — anywhere there is a sizeable Hispanic population.
1. Ensure all students and parents understand the long-term benefits of a higher education degree and the steps necessary to prepare for college.
2. Make college accessible and affordable for students from all economic backgrounds.
3. Increase the number of Floridians — especially those from underrepresented groups –who have a postsecondary degree.
None of these goals is anything new but the consequences of not fulfilling them are already creating a reality that is detrimental to the economic prosperity of Florida, and it won’t be long before it happens across the nation.