Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > New study shows importance of colleges providing extra support in helping Latino students finish school

New study shows importance of colleges providing extra support in helping Latino students finish school

LatinaLista — In the 2012 report, The Condition of Education, issued by the National Center for Education Statistics, it was found that there was no measurable difference in the “immediate college enrollment rate” for Latino students between 1975 and 2010.

Defined as those students who complete high school and enroll in 2-or 4-year colleges in the fall immediately after completing high school, the immediate college enrollment rate highlights an interesting disparity.

During the longer period of 1975 to 2010, immediate college enrollment rates increased for White (51 vs. 70 percent) and Black high school completers (43 vs. 66 percent). After accounting for possible sampling error, there was no measurable difference in Hispanic rates over this period of time (approximately 60 percent in both years).

What the data shows is NOT that Latinos are not entering college, but that they’re just waiting to start. Reasons could be financial or lack of academic preparedness but if these are the reasons that they wait until starting then current data, showing how Latino students drop out before getting their degrees, means that these problems, in addition to others, are not fully resolved by the time they do start college.

And that’s bad news when considering that Latinos will be the majority in the future workforce of the country. It’s an issue that has increasingly garnered attention from the White House to community education initiatives on what to do about helping more Latino students reach their degree dreams.

A new report by Excelencia in Education titled “Growing What Works: Lessons Learned Replicating Promising Practices for Latino Student Success,” offers insight as to what programs needs to be in place at the collegiate level to ensure Latino students don’t give up.

Launched in 2009 by Exelencia in Education, The Growing What Works initiative focused on “supporting the replication of evidence-based practices” from campuses across the country that had committed to helping Latino students graduate from college.

The initiative awarded grants known as SEMILLAS (Seeding Educational Models that Impact and Leverage Latino Academic Success) and while more than 225 grant applications were received, projects in 11 states were funded.

Programs that provided support services to students who were transferring from community college to universities; provided outreach and engaged low-income and Latino students and provided academic support programs to Latino students resulted in outcomes that made a difference in Latino retention rates and/or success on the participating college campuses.

The report’s authors note that implementing the SEMILLAS program had its challenges — the economic crisis, budgetary restrictions and change in institutional leadership that occurred on some campuses — yet, the authors garnered important data and evidence that shows the importance of having programs in place that can address the unique needs of Latino and low-income students on their way to getting their degrees.

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