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By Paul Bradley  /  
2008 September 21 - 12:00 am

HISPANIC FOCUS: Higher Education Key to Hispanic Agenda

According to the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, Hispanics have the lowest college matriculation rate and lowest college graduation rate of any major population group.

In 2007, only 13.4 percent of Hispanics older than 25 had received a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 30.6 percent of comparable non-Hispanic whites. In 2003, only 28.2 percent of Hispanic 12th graders had expectations of obtaining a bachelor’s degree, compared to 35.1 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

The NHLA, a group of 26 national and regional Hispanic organizations, recently released its 2008 Hispanic Policy Agenda. It identifies Hispanic-Serving Institutions as the backbone of Hispanic higher education and makes numerous recommendations, chief among them urging that  HSIs be made a national priority.

Other higher education-related recommendations include:

  • Double Pell Grant caps and increase the ratio of grants to loans.
  • Lower student loan costs.
  • Support efforts to provide undocumented immigrant students with the opportunity to attend college and adjust their residency status.
  • Support efforts to disseminate financial aid information to Hispanic families.
  •  Establish a new teacher education program to train teachers who are culturally and linguistically competent to teach science, technology, engineering, math and other areas of high need.
  • Create incentives for Hispanics to choose teaching as a career.
  • Increase funding to HSIs for teacher development and training to meet the workforce needs of the pre-school and K-12 education system.
  • Establish a National Hispanic Education Institute to train Hispanic principals, superintendents and HIS college faculty and presidents.
  • Establish a “President’s National Board of Advisors to Hispanic-Serving Institutions” to strengthen the capacity of the colleges.
  • Increase funding for student support services.
  • Support policies that will increase the ranks of Latino faculty at colleges and universities.  
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