Monday, April 15, 2024

COVID-19 Forcing Latino College Students to Drop-Out

Generally, White non-Latino students have had the highest college enrollment rates in the United Sates but, recently we have seen the number of Latinos attending college rocketed. From 2000-2018, the number of Latinos attending college increased from 1.4 million to 3.4 million, making this the largest growth in all races and ethnic groups. However, things seem to have changed. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began the Latino community has been one of the most affected communities due to their jobs as essential workers and multigenerational living conditions. Latinos are more likely to be hospitalized and die for COVID-19 than White non-Latinos.

COVID-19 is threatening the great progress that Latinos have made in higher education. Many educational institutions have seen a decrease in enrollment. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, undergraduate enrollment has decreased by 4.4% and even though, undergraduate Latino students were the only ethnic and racial group to increase last fall, this fall 2020, undergraduate Latino enrollment has decrease by 5.4%.

When interviewed, Efren Berrones, expressed his concern for his mother’s health due to the several autoimmune disorders that she has. He was attending Hawaii Pacific University with a full-ride scholarship but said that his scholarship was partially cut and “the thought [of dropping out] crossed [his] mind with all of this happening because [he] started to think, ‘how am I [going to] afford it?’”. Berrones decided to not enroll for this fall semester in order to stay with his mother.

This pandemic is forcing many Latinos to decide between attending school or working to help their families survive.

Berrones stated “I’m going to Hawaii with not much money left,” he said. “But I’m gonna go there and it’s gonna work out because I have to get this degree.”