Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Latino College completion is key in California

For California to maintain its standing as the fifth-largest economy in the world, the state has to produce at least 1.65 million college graduates by 2030, but it won’t reach this goal without Latino educational success.

Latinos are intrinsically tied to the state’s future, by 2060, almost half of California’s population will be Latino “and disproportionately young,” according to “The State of Higher Education for Latinx in California,’ a report by The Campaign for College Opportunity. Nearly 40 percent of all 38.6 million people living in California are Latino, including over half of the state’s K-12 student population and four in 10 college undergraduates.

In California community colleges, Latino completion went from 38 percent in 2010-11 to 42 percent in 2016-17. However, although more Latinos are attending universities, only 18 percent of Latino adults in the state have a degree — a rate that’s lower than any other racial or ethnic group.

Education experts worry about this trend, not just in California but across the country. “While Latino college-going is improving, change must happen faster to increase the numbers of Latino college graduates,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education, an organization based in the nation’s capital that measures Latino college completion and analyzes best practices in colleges and universities that help increase graduation rates.

Changes need to happen quickly, since gaps in the graduation rates between Latino and white college students have grown over the last decade. The report found stark differences between California high schools that serve Latino students and those that serve predominantly white students, including a differential of 100 points in SAT scores and almost double the number of students at Latino high schools.

The report also found a lack of mentoring programs and recommended increasing these, especially for minority students. Only 39 percent of the state’s Latino high school students had completed the paperwork to be able to attend a four-year state college, and too many Latinos were enrolled in remedial programs.