Higher Education

Organizing so Every Latino Family Has at Least One College Degree!

HELPFUL COLLEGE RESOURCES

The LPC Proyecto Oportunidad aims to increase Latino applications to institutions of higher education; and to increase college degree attainment within each Latino family through better awareness, preparation, and access to admissions, scholarships, and loan opportunities.

There is an erroneous belief that Latino families do not value higher education. Indeed, most surveys indicate that the majority of Latino parents think that a good education is vital to the success of their children.

Nevertheless, Latino students and their families face important disadvantages when it comes to knowing and understanding the practical steps needed to enter college, and to obtain financial aid for the pursuit of higher education.

The fact is Latino students in higher education are often first generation college students, and as such they have had to overcome particular informational barriers throughout their high school years.

And just as the number of college-age Latinos is growing, states are working to address budget deficits by raising tuition and cutting back on enrollments. This places a huge financial burden on low-income Latino families.

COLLEGE DEGREE FACTS

According to a recent White House paper, over the next decade nearly eight in ten new job openings in the U.S. will require some workforce training or postsecondary education. And of the 30 fastest-growing occupations today, half require at least a 4-year college degree.

Even though Latinos represent 17.4% of the college-age population (18-24 year olds), they account for only 10.8% of all undergraduate students. Only 23.6% of Latinos in this age group were enrolled in a higher education institution.

Over the past few decades most groups have seen a steady increase in college degrees.  For example, the percentage of Whites completing college grew from 24% to 34% from 1975 to 2005; during the same period, the African-American college completion rate increased from 11% to 18%.  However, Latino college completion rates only increased from 9% to 11% in the same years.

The recent economic downturn has put Latino students at risk of falling further behind.

Latinos in higher education are usually enrolled part-time, attend community colleges, live off campus, commute to college, enroll close to home, work off campus while enrolled, are less likely than their peers to receive financial aid, and do not complete college in traditional paths.  It may take these students 6 to 10 years to complete college.

The LPC Oportunidad Project is a community organizing effort seeking to ensure that young Latinos finish their college years sooner and enter the labor force on equal footing with their peers.

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

Latinos have one of the highest high school dropout rates in the country. Only 58% of Latino students who enter 9th grade finish 12th grade and graduate with a regular high school diploma.

Latinos have a low rate of enrolment in advanced math and science classes. In 2007 only 7% took Calculus classes and 13% completed advanced courses in Chemistry, Physics or Biology.

Only 28% of Latino 12th graders had expectations of attaining a bachelor´s degree, and in fact only 12.7% of Latinos age 25 years and older have received a bachelor´s degree.

The LPC Oportunidad Project seeks to close this college attainment gap, by helping junior and senior students in high school overcome the informational, cultural, and financial obstacles they face in considering pursuing a college degree.

WORKING ADULT STUDENTS AND ARMED FORCES VETERANS

The LPC Oportunidad Project aims to support adult Latinos, and veterans, seeking advancement in the workforce; we will assist working adults seeking to upgrade their academic credentials and employment skills by increasing access to proven responsible accredited institutions offering flexible schedules and online courses to attain bachelor degrees.

IF WE DON´T ACT NOW

A study by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving strategic decision-making in higher education, found that if we do nothing to improve the education of the fastest-growing community in the nation:

  • By 2020 the U.S. will see a 2% drop in per capita income (compared to 40% increase in prior two decades).
  • States like California and Texas will see declines in per capita income of 5% to 11%.
  • States with high Latino populations will be unable to fill existing college-level jobs.
  • Tax revenues will decline nationally and especially in states with high Latino populations.

We are convinced of the urgent necessity to invest more in Latino academic achievement. Every Latino family in the US must earn at least one college degree in order to fulfill our community, and our nation’s, vast economic potential.


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