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New report finds colleges bear half of the blame for low Latino graduation rates

LatinaLista — A new report released today by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research titled Rising to the Challenge: Hispanic College Graduation Rates as a National Priority documented the fact that Latino students who don’t graduate from college don’t bear all the blame.


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The authors of the report found that those colleges and universities that committed to creating programs addressing the retention of all of their students had the highest rates of Hispanic graduates.

It makes sense.

The report also noted that not even Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI’s), where a large percentage of the student body is Latino, had as high graduation rates for their Latino students versus those colleges that had created campus-wide programs to help their students stick it out.

The bottom line of the report is that it’s not simply enough for universities and colleges to accept students, Latinos or otherwise, they must have ongoing programs dedicated to helping each student reach their goal of graduating.

What is the responsibility of the student and their family is the research needed to find out which school is their best “match.”

Hispanic students are especially likely to be “undermatched,” or to enroll at a college that is less selective than they are qualified to attend. Given the relationship between selectivity and graduation rates, undermatched Hispanic students are more likely to leave college without completing their degrees than if they had attended more selective schools.

As the report illustrates through its title, the higher education of as many Latinos as possible should be a national priority since Latinos will be the future majority on which will rest the success of the nation’s economy.

The report had a few other revelations. The most notable being that Latinas graduate from colleges and universities at higher rates than Latinos. Not new news. That’s long known but what is interesting is that Latinas are graduating at the same rates as white male graduates in their schools.

Some other findings include:

At the average college or university, 51 percent of Hispanic students complete a bachelor’s degree in six years compared to 59 percent of white students at those same schools. Even after accounting for the type of students schools admit, Hispanic students graduate at lower rates than their white peers at all levels of admissions selectivity.

In light of the rapid expansion of the country’s Hispanic population, the report questions whether the United States can ever achieve the president’s goal of reclaiming its status as the world’s best-educated country, given the overall low college completion rates of the nation’s growing Hispanic population. 

This is particularly important because minority youths are the “vanguard of America’s new racial and ethnic diversity,” according to a report released this month by the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute. Between 2000 and 2008 the number of minority children grew by 4.8 million, and Hispanics accounted for more than 80 percent of the increase.


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