Closing gaps for Latino students

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

A new effort by the College Promise Campaign examines Latino student success.

The number of College Promise programs has increased dramatically in the last few years. Each program has its own characteristics, but they all are meant to allow students to attend college tuition-free. While College Promise programs increase access to a college education, equity gaps exist.

The College Promise Campaign this week released a landscape crosswalk of existing programs supporting Latino students. It’s part of an effort by the non-profit — and partner Excelencia in Education — to increase Lantino student success.

According to a release from the organization, of the 523 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) across the nation, 172 of those institutions are currently participating in College Promise programs. While Latino students have made significant strides in college access and degree attainment at the state and national level over the past five years, considerable gaps remain in access, completion and labor force participation.

Latinos have strong employment and labor participation rates, but they are significantly overrepresented in lower-paying occupations (approximately 50 percent of construction workers, agricultural workers or cleaners), versus the highest-paying occupations (only 22 percent of Latinos are employed in management or professional occupations). Latinos in the labor force also have lower levels of high school diploma attainment and bachelor’s degree attainment.

“The Latino community has the highest labor force participation in America; we bring a work ethic and commitment to family that is a hallmark of American values and culture,” said Rosye Cloud, vice president of the College Promise Campaign. “As a first generation American Latina, much of my American identity was shaped through my experiences in higher education and meaningful career. We must do better at providing Latino students a pathway into the middle class and the ‘how’ to achieve the American dream of prosperity.”

Want to learn more about closing equity gaps at community colleges? Learn about AACC’s new initiative, Unfinished Business, here.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.