Saturday, July 20, 2024

Latino Students are Falling Behind in Education

A new study finds that Latinos face financial challenges when attending college, organizations like The Hispanic College Fund are providing much needed assistance. …

A new report by the College Board, titled “Coming to Our Senses: Education and the American Future,” provided a sobering assessment of the country’s educational attainment. Specifically, the report revealed some alarming statistics about the college completion rates of Latinos.

“Faced with potentially high expenses, while in the dark about aid amounts, many first-generation, college-going students are discouraged from applying,” the study concluded.

Many Latino youths are the first generation in their families to attend college and face greater disadvantages than their Asian and white counterparts. College graduation rates were significantly lower among minority groups; just 26 percent of African-Americans and 18 percent of Latinos and Hispanics have at least an associate degree.

During these troubled economic times, Latino students face greater challenges with increases in tuition and decreases in enrollment numbers at many state schools. According to Forbes Magazine, Florida institutions may hike tuition by as much as 15%. The California State University network is one of the largest public university systems in the nation and is poised to cut enrollment by 10,000 students.

One of the most alarming facts is that the study also found that the odds of getting a college education depend more on geography, income, race and ethnicity than on ability and effort. For example, in Arizona, white young adults are twice as likely to be enrolled in college as their Latino peers. If trends such as these continue, we are likely to see large income gaps along racial lines as Latinos will continue to find themselves at a disadvantage in comparison to their white counterparts.

The College Board report established a goal of ensuring that 55 percent of Americans earn a college degree by 2025. To help achieve this, it called for free preschool for low-income families, improved college counseling, more rigorous high school coursework, stepped up recruitment of low-income students, and increased financial aid. Latino children and youth would benefit immensely from these types of reforms and we should collectively work to ensure programs such as these are enacted at the state and federal levels.

While many marvel in the tremendous population growth that Latinos are expected to have in the next decades, it is difficult to imagine significant progress for our community and the states in which we reside if these trends continue. For example, a study conducted by The Public Policy Institute of California revealed that the Golden State with its large Latino population will face a shortage of college graduates by the year 2025.

Gaston Caperton, President of the College Board explained, “A nation’s success lies largely on the quality of its human resources. Without well-educated citizens, we will struggle economically and socially.”

Some organizations are already working hard to increase the number of Latinos college graduates. The Hispanic College Fund is committed to helping students afford a college education. In 2008, the Hispanic College Fund awarded $2 million in scholarships to more than 600 students from across the nation. Despite the economic downturn, we will continue to help low-income students achieve a college education. Students are encouraged to apply at The Hispanic College Fund scholarship applications open December 15, 2008. It is critical to get the word out, for our nation’s students and our nation’s economy.

Check out Hispanic College Fund president, Idalia Fernandez’s Comcast interview on how to apply for scholarships in 2009: Watch Video

The Boston Globe

Los Angeles Times


  1. To bad that the Hispanic Scholarship Fund discriminates against undocumented students. They will not allow high achieving students a chance to apply. This is a same because undocumented students cannot receive federal or Sate financial aid.

    At a time when Latinos are Falling behind, Hispanic organizations like HSF should allow ALL Hispanic Students to apply!!

    Check out: for more info and to sign petition for HSF to open scholarships.

  2. I understand your frustration, Jose. Qualified individuals should also be afforded opportunities to finance their education, regardless of legal status.

    However, it is important to keep in mind that attacking nonprofits is not the most efficient way to promote equal access to education.

    Consider this: many corporations that donate money to finance scholarships have documentation requirements of their own that are then imposed on the requirements for the scholarship application. That’s to say, the nonprofit often has no control over the documentation requirements of a particular scholarship.

    Instead, I think we should promote supporting bills like the Dream Act that could potentially provide a route to citizenship for undocumented students who are doing well in school. This strategy is much more likely to create the change we are looking for: equal access to education.