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College programs that work helping Latino students achieve graduation success

LatinaLista — The challenges facing Latino students who want a 4-year degree are more than just being able to afford college tuition and books. There are a host of obstacles that can range from not receiving the proper instruction in high school to feelings of not belonging among a student community unfamiliar with Latinos.

However, colleges and universities recognized long ago that Latino students needed extra support along the way to achieve their college dreams. From coast to coast, community colleges and universities created programs to help Latino students graduate. These programs are so good that it’s a no-brainer that they could work in other areas of the country — if only people knew about them.

Luckily, Excelencia in Education, a national, non-profit organization with a mission to accelerate Latino student success in higher education, realized that good ideas need to be shared, especially if Latinos are to earn 5.5 million college degrees by 2020 to achieve President Barack Obama’s goal of American world leadership in college degrees by 2020.

In its seventh compilation of programs that work helping Latino students get those college degrees, Excelencia in Education released What Works for Latino Students in Higher Education: 2012 Compendium Profiles of Selected Programs.

Culling a worthy list of 159 nominated programs to the 20 featured in the compendium, the programs are divided into three levels: Associate, Baccalaureate and Graduate.

A review of the programs highlighted show that they range from making transitions from two-year to four-year campuses easier, motivating and guiding students to enroll in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) studies; and enabling Spanish-speaking adult immigrants to earn an AA or BA, with a track to an MA, while improving their English.

“America cannot become the world leader in college degrees, nor will it have a globally competitive workforce in the future, if it does not focus on improving Latino college completion,” — Rep. Charles Gonzalez, Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

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