Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Hispanic Students Face Tough Obstacles on Road to Higher Education, Report Says. (Noteworthy News)

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Hispanic Students Face Tough Obstacles on Road to Higher Education, Report Says. (Noteworthy News)

Article excerpt

SAN JOSE, CALIF.

Hispanic high school students are often derailed on the road to higher education by low expectations from teachers, poor understanding of the college admissions and financial aid processes, and little adult support, according to a study released last month.

The study, "With Diploma in Hand: Hispanic High School Seniors Talk About Their Future," reveals findings from focus group research conducted by the Public Agenda for the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

"The idea for this research began with an earlier survey showing that Hispanic parents place enormous emphasis on higher education," says Dr. John Immerwahr, author of the report and a senior research fellow at Public Agenda. "They believe that a college education is a prerequisite for a good job and a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. Despite this belief, statistics show that Hispanic high school students are less likely to go on to full-time higher education and less likely to graduate with a degree. The purpose of this research was to probe this gap."

The analysis reports on interviews with 50 Hispanic high school seniors from Arizona, California, Illinois, New York and Texas. Some of the students interviewed were on a clear college track and others appeared unlikely to attend college. The middle group--referred to in the study as "college-maybes" --appeared academically qualified for college-level work, but still faced significant obstacles.

The "college-maybe" students often struggled with challenges ranging from lack of help with applications to lack of knowledge of the rules of the game to lack of financial resources.

"Unlike college-bound students from upper- and middle-class families, whose parents tend to be well-informed about higher education and heavily involved in the application process, these students seem to have to do all of the decision-making about their educational future themselves, with little adult guidance," Immerwahr says. …

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