Latinos Tell How They Made it to College

By Mary Ann Zehr — December 10, 2007 1 min read
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One Latina got most of her information about college on her own, by searching the Internet. Another Latino student learned about the college application process through participation in Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, a college-prep program. The personal stories of how those two students and some other Latino youths made it to college are included in a report, “Voces (Voices): A Profile of Today’s Latino College Students,” released by Excelencia in Education, a Washington-based nonprofit organization.

The report notes that despite increases in enrollment in higher education for Latinos, only 25 percent of college-age Latinos (ages 18 to 24) are enrolled in college, compared with about 42 percent of college-age whites, 32 percent of blacks, and 60 percent of Asians and Pacific Islanders. It says Latinos are as likely as all undergraduates to receive some form of aid to pay for college but they received the lowest average financial aid award of any racial/ethnic group. The average total aid award in the 2003-04 school year for all undergraduates was $6,890. Latinos received an average of $6,250, according to the report.

By the way, the report also notes that 98 percent of Latino students in 2003-04 were either U.S. citizens (86 percent) or legal residents (12 percent). Thus it doesn’t look as if many undocumented Latinos are enrolled in college or getting a very large share of college aid. (See my post, “There’s No ‘DREAM Act,’ But College Aid is Available.”)

I make mention of the report here because I think it might be useful to teachers or high school guidance counselors who work with English-language learners to read how a number of Latino students got information about how to go to college.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.