Coming Sept. 14: HISPANIC FOCUS
Colleges are Playing A Prominent Role in Efforts to Increase College Completion
The last dozen years have brought enormous enrollment growth of Hispanic students nationwide, and especially at community colleges. The U.S. Department of Education reports that there were 2.3 million Hispanic undergraduate students in public colleges in fall 2013 — 638,000 more than in 2008. Between 2008 and 2015, Hispanic enrollment accounted for about 85 percent of all enrollment growth. Since 2000, the number of Hispanic students enrolled in public colleges and universities has doubled. Fully two-thirds of Hispanic students enrolled in college are attending community colleges; in 2013, two-year colleges enrolled 1.5 million students compared to 806,000 at public four-year schools. While these numbers represents a national trend, a closer look shows more half of the enrollment gains took place in just three states: California, Texas and Florida. California, home of the nation’s largest community college system, accounted for 30 percent of the increase all by itself. But with the unprecedented enrollment spikes come serious challenges. According to the California Public Policy Institute, only 12 percent of the Hispanic population between the ages of 25 and 64 has a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 42 percent of the White population. The disparities pose serious challenges in California, where Hispanics now make up a majority of the population. “Access is something all of us care about in California,” said Barrier Becker, head of the advocacy group ReadyNation. “But when it comes to improving completion rates, we have to do more than care. We have to act and we have to act now.” We take a look at what some colleges are doing to improve outcomes for Latino students. By Paul Bradley. 1,200 words. With graphics.