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Why Higher Education Depends On The Hispanic Market

As with so many other industries, higher education is facing major existential challenges. Among the biggest issues raising questions around the fundamental model of colleges and universities include:

Reduced revenue driven by flat/declining enrollment and reduced public funding Reduced demand resulting from a shrinking pool of high school students and stagnating household incomes Increased questions about the value of a four-year college degree as young people’s attitudes change and demand increases for better outcomes Technological disruption with the growth of online education, MOOCs (massive open online courses), and other non-traditional forms of education powered by digital technology These challenges are causing universities, colleges and other education providers to merge, restructure and fundamentally rethink their business models. While many of the changes are likely necessary for the continued viability of higher education, the U.S. Hispanic market is one overlooked bright spot and opportunity.

In many ways, the Hispanic market represents an antidote and counterpoint to the prevailing issues noted above.

Reduced Revenue – Hispanics are seeing significant growth in terms of college enrollment. The number of Hispanic college students in the U.S. reached 3.4 million in 2012, rising from 11% of the U.S. college population in 2006 to over 17%. Hispanic enrollment in colleges, universities and other educational programs is increasing almost across the board.

Reduced Demand – The number of Hispanic high school students in the U.S. is growing rapidly, representing a major supply-side opportunity for colleges and universities. From 2000-2014, the Hispanic high school dropout rate dropped from 32% to 12% (Pew Hispanic Center). Moreover, Hispanic household incomes have been increasing since 2000. Couple this with increasing scholarship and college funding opportunities and demand for college degrees is increasing among Hispanics.

The Value of a College Education – Hispanics continue to place a high level of importance on education, specifically in the form of traditional four-year college degrees. We have seen consistently across our Hispanic Millennial and Generation Z studies that young Hispanics, regardless of their nativity, diverge from non-Hispanic whites in their positive attitudes and beliefs towards higher education. For instance, 46% of Hispanic Millennials consider graduating from a four-year college as a future goal, compared to only 31% of non-Hispanic Millennials (HMP). Among Gen Z, we see that 67% of Hispanics 11-16 view college as essential, versus only 60% of non-Hispanic whites (We Are Gen Z Report).

The entire higher education industry has a major opportunity and potential “lifeline” with Hispanics. Taking advantage of these opportunities will require more than just simple cosmetic changes to their marketing materials or outreach efforts. To fully take advantage of the Hispanic market, colleges and universities will need to rethink and adjust all elements of their enterprise — from their recruiting to their curriculum, student support, and alumni relations. The lag in Hispanic four-year college completion rates is a testament to the importance of this “all-in” approach. Those that do will be well-positioned to emerge from the current environment as leaders in a new higher education landscape.


The Shifting Religious Identity of Latinos in the United States

The Shifting Religious Identity of Latinos in the United States

Nearly One-in-Four Latinos Are Former Catholics

Most Hispanics in the United States continue to belong to the Roman Catholic Church. But the Catholic share of the Hispanic population is declining, while rising numbers of Hispanics are Protestant or unaffiliated with any religion. Indeed, nearly one-in-four Hispanic adults (24%) are now former Catholics, according to a major, nationwide survey of more than 5,000 Hispanics by the Pew Research Center. Together, these trends suggest that some religious polarization is taking place in the Hispanic community, with the shrinking majority of Hispanic Catholics holding the middle ground between two growing groups (evangelical Protestants and the unaffiliated) that are at opposite ends of the U.S. religious spectrum.

The Pew Research Center’s 2013 National Survey of Latinos and Religion finds that a majority (55%) of the nation’s estimated 35.4 million Latino adults – or about 19.6 million Latinos – identify as Catholic today. 1  About 22% are Protestant (including 16% who describe themselves as born-again or evangelical) and 18% are religiously unaffiliated.

The share of Hispanics who are Catholic likely has been in decline for at least the last few decades. 2 But as recently as 2010, Pew Research polling found that fully two-thirds of Hispanics (67%) were Catholic. That means the Catholic share has dropped by 12 percentage points in just the last four years, using Pew Research’s standard survey question about religious affiliation. 3

The long-term decline in the share of Catholics among Hispanics may partly reflect religious changes underway in Latin America, where evangelical churches have been gaining adherents and the share of those with no religious affiliation has been slowly rising in a region that historically has been overwhelmingly Catholic. 4 But it also reflects religious changes taking place in the U.S., where Catholicism has had a net loss of adherents through religious switching (or conversion) and the share of the religiously unaffiliated has been growing rapidly in the general public. 5

Hispanics leaving Catholicism have tended to move in two directions. Some have become born-again or evangelical Protestants, a group that exhibits very high levels of religious commitment. On average, Hispanic evangelicals – many of whom also identify as either Pentecostal or charismatic Protestants – not only report higher rates of church attendance than Hispanic Catholics but also tend to be more engaged in other religious activities, including Scripture reading, Bible study groups and sharing their faith.

At the same time, other Hispanics have become religiously unaffiliated – that is, they describe themselves as having no particular religion or say they are atheist or agnostic. This group exhibits much lower levels of religious observance and involvement than Hispanic Catholics. In this respect, unaffiliated Hispanics roughly resemble the religiously unaffiliated segment of the general public.

Hispanic Catholics are somewhere in the middle. They fall in between evangelicals and the unaffiliated in terms of church attendance, frequency of prayer and the degree of importance they assign to religion in their lives, closely resembling white (non-Hispanic) Catholics in their moderate levels of religious observance and engagement (see Chapter 3 ).

These three Hispanic religious groups also have distinct social and political views, with evangelical Protestants at the conservative end of the spectrum, the unaffiliated at the liberal end and Hispanic Catholics in between.

These are among the key findings of the Pew Research Center’s 2013 National Survey of Latinos and Religion. The survey was conducted May 24-July 28, 2013, among a representative sample of 5,103 Hispanic adults (ages 18 and older) living in the United States. The survey was conducted in English and in Spanish on both cellular and landline telephones with a staff of bilingual interviewers. The margin of error for results based on all respondents is plus or minus 2.1 percentage points. For more details, see Appendix A: Survey Methodology .

The remainder of this overview discusses the key findings in greater detail, beginning with a deeper look at changes in religious affiliation among Latinos in recent years, which have been concentrated among young and middle-aged adults (ages 18-49). While these shifts are complicated and defy any single, simple explanation, the report examines some potential factors, including patterns in religious switching since childhood, the reasons Latinos most frequently give for changing their religion, areas of agreement and disagreement with the Catholic Church, and the continuing appeal of Pentecostalism. The report also explores key differences between Latino religious groups, placing Latino Protestants, Catholics and religiously unaffiliated adults on a spectrum in terms of religious commitment, social attitudes and political views.

Broad-Based Changes in Religious Identity

The recent changes in religious affiliation are broad-based, occurring among Hispanic men and women, those born in the United States and those born abroad, and those who have attended college as well as those with less formal education. The changes are also occurring among Hispanics of Mexican origin (the largest single origin group) and those with other origins.

The change, however, has occurred primarily among Hispanic adults under the age of 50, and the patterns vary considerably among different age groups. Among the youngest cohort of Hispanic adults, those ages 18-29, virtually all of the net change has been away from Catholicism and toward no religious affiliation. Among those ages 30-49, the net movement has been away from Catholicism and toward both evangelical Protestantism and no religious affiliation. Among Hispanics ages 50 and older, the changes in religious identity are not statistically significant.

For more on religious affiliation, see Chapter 1 .

Latinos Make Up a Rising Share of Catholics

Even though the percentage of Hispanics who identify as Catholic has been declining, Hispanics continue to make up an increasingly large share of U.S. Catholics. Indeed, as of 2013, one-third (33%) of all U.S. Catholics were Hispanic, according to Pew Research surveys.

Both trends can occur at the same time because of the growing size of the Hispanic population, which has increased from 12.5% of the total U.S. population in 2000 to 16.9% in 2012 . Indeed, if both trends continue, a day could come when a majority of Catholics in the United States will be Hispanic, even though the majority of Hispanics might no longer be Catholic.

While the decline in Catholic affiliation is occurring among multiple age groups, it is more pronounced among younger generations of Hispanics. Today, fewer than half of Hispanics under age 30 are Catholic (45%), compared with about two-thirds of those ages 50 and older (64%).

At the same time, Catholics under age 50 are much more likely to be Hispanic than those ages 50 and older (44% vs. 21%).

Religious Switching Since Childhood

The decline in Catholic affiliation among Latinos is due, at least in part, to changes in religious affiliation since childhood. 6 Three-quarters of Latino adults in the new survey (77%) say they were raised as Catholics, while just over half (55%) currently describe themselves as Catholics. Roughly a quarter of Latinos were raised Catholic and have left the faith (24%), while just 2% were raised in some other faith and have converted to Catholicism, for a net decline of 22 percentage points.

Catholicism is the only major religious tradition among Latinos that has seen a net loss in adherents due to religious switching. Net gains have occurred among the religiously unaffiliated (up 12 percentage points) and among Protestants (up eight points).

Foreign Born

Roughly half of Hispanic adults (50%) were born outside the United States. 7 Among these first-generation immigrants, Catholics have had a net loss of 19 percentage points due to religious switching. The net gains are about evenly divided between those who have changed to Protestant (a net gain of eight percentage points) and those who have changed to no religious affiliation (a net gain of 10 percentage points).

Among Hispanic immigrants who say their current religion is different from their childhood religion, roughly half say this change occurred after moving to the U.S., while nearly as many say they changed religion before coming to the United States.

U.S. Born

At the same time, a growing share of Hispanics were born in the U.S., and they are gradually shifting the demographic center of gravity in the Hispanic community from immigrants to the U.S. born. 8 Looking at religious switching among the native born, the biggest gains have been among the unaffiliated (a net gain of 17 percentage points) and Protestants (a net gain of seven points). Catholics, by contrast, have had a net loss of 25 percentage points among the native born.

For more on religious switching, see Chapter 2 .

Reasons Given for Switching Religions

The new survey asked respondents who have left their childhood religion about the reasons they did so. Of six possible reasons offered on the survey, two were cited as important by half or more of Hispanics who have changed faiths: 55% say they just gradually “drifted away” from the religion in which they were raised, and 52% say they stopped believing in the teachings of their childhood religion.

In addition, nearly a third (31%) say they found a congregation that reaches out and helps its members more, while roughly a fifth say the decision was associated with a “deep personal crisis” (23%) or with moving to a new community (19%). About one-in-ten (9%) say that marrying someone who practices a different faith was an important reason for leaving their childhood religion.

Latinos who have left the Catholic Church are especially likely to say that an important reason was that they stopped believing in its teachings; 63% of former Catholics who are now unaffiliated and 57% of former Catholics who are now Protestants give this reason for having left the church.

In addition, 49% of Hispanics who were raised as Catholics and have become Protestants say that an important factor was finding a church that “reaches out and helps its members more.”

The survey also contained an open-ended question asking respondents to explain, in their own words, the main reason they left their childhood religion. Some former Catholics cite particular aspects of Catholicism that they now reject, such as the veneration of saints and the Virgin Mary, or trust in the Catholic priesthood; about 3% specifically mention the scandal over sexual abuse by clergy, for example. But many others give general answers, such as that they no longer accept Catholic doctrine, came to a different understanding of the Bible, found God’s love, lost faith in all religions or decided for themselves what to believe.

For more on the reasons Hispanics give for switching faiths, see Chapter 2 .

For an analysis of the extent to which childhood Catholics who have switched faiths or become religiously unaffiliated retain vestiges of Catholic beliefs and practices, such as praying to the Virgin Mary and displaying a crucifix or other religious objects in their home, see Chapter 4 .

Attitudes of Current and Former Catholics Toward the Catholic Church

On the whole, Hispanic Catholics express very positive views of some aspects of their church. For example, more than eight-in-ten say their opinion of Pope Francis is either very favorable (45%) or mostly favorable (38%). 9 Nearly two-thirds (64%) say they consider the typical Catholic Mass to be “lively and exciting.” And about six-in-ten Hispanic Catholics (62%) consider the Catholic Church to be very welcoming to new immigrants. An additional three-in-ten (29%) say it is somewhat welcoming; just 5% say it is “not too” welcoming or “not at all” welcoming to immigrants. Foreign-born and U.S.-born Catholics are about equally likely to see the Catholic Church as welcoming toward immigrants.

In general, the survey finds that former Catholics tend to be less positive on these questions. Though a plurality (50%) of Hispanics who were raised as Catholics and have since left the church hold favorable opinions of Pope Francis, a larger share of former Catholics than current Catholics express an unfavorable view of the pontiff (21% vs. 6%) or do not state an opinion (29% vs. 5%). Only one-third of Hispanics who have left the faith say the Catholic Church is very welcoming toward new immigrants (33%), and just one-in-five think the typical Mass is lively and exciting (19%). However, these are classic chicken-and-egg situations: it is impossible to know whether such views are a cause of religious switching or a consequence of having switched.

Even as Latino Catholics generally express positive views of their church, there is strong consensus among them that more action is needed to address the clergy sex abuse scandal. About three-quarters of the current Catholics surveyed say the church needs to do “a lot more” (74%) to address the scandal; just 4% say the church does not need to do anything more to address the sex abuse issue.

Moreover, most Hispanic Catholics are at odds with the church’s teachings on divorce and contraception, and most favor allowing priests to marry and women to become priests. Disagreement with these church teachings is stronger among Hispanic Catholics who attend Mass less regularly. But even among weekly Mass attenders, about half or more support changing the church’s positions on these issues. 10 (Questions about whether the Catholic Church should change its positions were asked only of Catholics.)

Continuing Appeal of Pentecostalism

One of the main findings of the first major Pew Research survey of Latinos and religion, conducted in 2006 and released in 2007, was the strong influence of Pentecostalism and related “charismatic” or “spirit-filled” religious movements, which have been burgeoning in Latin America and other countries in the “global South” for the past century or so. 11 Those who belong to this diverse and dynamic branch of Christianity are sometimes referred to as “renewalists” because of their belief in the spiritually renewing gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues, divine healing and prophesying. They also nurture a strong sense of God’s direct, often miraculous, role in everyday life.

The influence of Pentecostalism is still strongly felt within the Hispanic community. The new survey finds that among Hispanics who have left Catholicism and now identify as Protestants, more than a quarter (28%) are Pentecostal. Among Hispanic Protestants overall, two-thirds either say they belong to a traditional Pentecostal denomination (29%) or describe themselves as charismatic or Pentecostal Christians (38%). Among Hispanic Catholics, 52% describe themselves as charismatic Christians. (For definitions of terms, see Chapter 7 .)

Hispanics who are Pentecostals are particularly likely to report having received a divine healing (64%) or a direct revelation from God (64%), to have witnessed the devil or spirits being driven out of a person (59%), and to say they have spoken in tongues (49%). And those who describe themselves as charismatics are more likely than those who do not describe themselves as renewalist Christians to have witnessed or participated in these types of experiences. For more on renewalism among both Protestants and Catholics, see Chapter 7 . In addition, Chapter 8 looks at the influence of indigenous or Afro-Caribbean religions and the importance of the spirit world in Hispanics’ everyday lives.

Measures of Religious Commitment

As the religious diversity of Latinos grows, the major religious groups are marked by sharply differing levels of religious commitment.

Latino evangelical Protestants are the most likely to say they attend worship services at least weekly, pray daily and consider religion to be very important in their lives. Religiously unaffiliated Latinos are at the other end of the spectrum, with just 6% reporting that they attend services weekly and a minority saying that religion is very important to them (20%) or that they pray daily (29%). Latino Catholics and mainline Protestants fall in the middle between these two groups.

With few exceptions, Hispanic religious groups are similar to their non-Hispanic counterparts in the general public in terms of religious commitment. The main exception is Hispanic mainline Protestants, who tend to be somewhat more religious, by conventional measures, than white (non-Hispanic) mainline Protestants. The differences stem primarily from higher levels of religious practice among foreign-born mainliners. U.S.-born Hispanic mainline Protestants resemble white (non-Hispanic) mainline Protestants in their levels of religious commitment. For more on religious commitment and practices, including engagement in congregational life, see Chapter 3 .

Social and Political Views

When it comes to social and political views, Hispanics also fall into distinct groups along religious lines.

Same-Sex Marriage

Like the U.S. public as a whole, Latinos have become more inclined to favor same-sex marriage in recent years; support among Latinos has risen from 30% in 2006 to 46% in 2013. However, there still are sizable differences in views about same-sex marriage among Hispanic religious groups. Religiously unaffiliated Hispanics favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally by a roughly four-to-one margin (67% to 16%). Hispanic Protestants tilt in the opposite direction, with evangelical Protestants much more inclined to oppose same-sex marriage (66% opposed, 19% in favor). Hispanic Catholics fall in between, though more say they favor same-sex marriage (49%) than oppose it (30%). Mainline Protestants are closely divided on the issue, with nearly four-in-ten (37%) opposed to same-sex marriage and 44% in favor. These differences among Hispanic religious groups are largely in keeping with patterns found among the same religious groups in the general public. 12


Hispanics tend to be more conservative than the general public in their views on abortion. While 54% of U.S. adults say that abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances, just four-in-ten Hispanics take this position.

But Latino religious groups differ markedly in their views about abortion. Most Latino evangelical Protestants (70%) say that abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances, as do 54% of Latino Catholics. Latino mainline Protestants are closely divided, with 45% saying abortion should be mostly legal and 46% saying it should be mostly illegal. And a majority of religiously unaffiliated Hispanics (58%) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Views on abortion among Hispanic evangelical Protestants are similar to those among white (non-Hispanic) evangelicals, 64% of whom say that abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances. Hispanic Catholics are more inclined than white Catholics to say that abortion should be illegal (54% vs. 44%). Hispanic mainline Protestants are also more inclined than white mainline Protestants to say that abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances (46% vs. 31%). 13 The belief that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases is more common among those who attend religious services at least once a week.

Religion in Politics

Latinos are closely divided over the role that churches and other houses of worship should play in public debates over social and political issues. While 47% say that churches should express their views on social and political issues, a similar share (44%) say they should not. In the general public, more Americans say that churches should keep out of politics (54% to 40%), according to a 2012 Pew Research survey .

But, once again, there are sizable differences of opinion among Hispanic religious groups. About six-in-ten Hispanic evangelical Protestants (61%) say that church leaders should express their views on social and political issues, while about a third say church leaders should keep out of political matters. By contrast, half or more of religiously unaffiliated and mainline Protestant Hispanics say that church leaders should stay out of political matters. Hispanic Catholics are more divided on this issue, with about half (49%) saying church leaders should express their views and 41% saying church leaders should keep out of political matters.

Gender Roles

Solid majorities of Hispanics in all major religious groups reject traditional views of gender roles within marriage. Most say that a marriage in which both husband and wife hold jobs and help take care of the children (79%) is preferable to a traditional arrangement where the husband is the financial provider and the wife takes care of the house and children (18%). Further, about six-in-ten Hispanics (63%) reject the idea that “husbands should have the final say in family matters” – though fully one-third (34%) say husbands should have final say. Overall, Hispanics are no more likely to prefer traditional marriage roles than the general public was in a 2010 Pew Research survey that asked many of the same questions. 14 And there are few significant differences of opinion about marital roles among Hispanics by gender, age or immigrant generation.

However, Latino evangelical Protestants are somewhat more likely than either Latino Catholics or religiously unaffiliated Latinos to say a traditional marriage is a more satisfying way of life (29% vs. 15% each).

And Latino Protestants – including mainline as well as evangelical Protestants – are more inclined than either Catholics or the religiously unaffiliated to believe that husbands should have the final say on family matters. Latinos who attend services more regularly are more inclined to say this than are those who attend less frequently.


Hispanics are more unified when it comes to party identification. Across all of the major religious groups, Hispanics are more likely to identify with the Democratic Party than with the Republican Party. Overall, 56% of Hispanics describe themselves as Democrats or as independents who lean toward the Democratic Party. About a fifth (21%) identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, and about a fifth (22%) do not lean toward either party.

The partisan gap is narrower among Latino evangelicals than among other religious groups. Three-in-ten Latino evangelical Protestants identify as Republicans or lean toward the Republicans, while 48% identify with or lean toward the Democrats. The religiously unaffiliated are particularly likely to identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party (64%) over the Republican Party (16%). Latino Catholics also tilt more heavily toward the Democrats (58%) than toward the GOP (21%).

About half or more of both foreign-born and U.S.-born Hispanics identify as Democrats or as independents who lean toward the Democratic Party. However, those who are foreign born – including some who are not U.S. citizens – are less likely to express a party affiliation than those who are U.S. born.

For more on views about social and political issues, see Chapter 9 .

About the Survey

Religious Affiliation

Religious affiliation is based on self-identification into religious groups.

For the purposes of this analysis, evangelical Protestants are those who describe themselves as being a “born-again” or evangelical Christian. All other Protestants are classified as “mainline Protestants.”

Other Christian groups include those who identify as Mormons, Orthodox Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Note that figures for the general public (but not for Hispanics) include Jehovah’s Witnesses as Protestants due to the way questions about religious affiliation have been asked in prior surveys. The overall effect on estimates of Protestants in the general public is quite small because Jehovah’s Witnesses make up less than 1% of the general public.

This report is based on findings from a Pew Research Center survey conducted May 24-July 28, 2013, among a nationally representative sample of 5,103 Hispanic adults. The survey was conducted in both English and Spanish on cellular as well as landline telephones. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 2.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence interval. Interviews were conducted for Pew Research by Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS). For a detailed description of the methodology, see Appendix A .

Estimates of the current religious profile of Hispanics are based on 4,080 respondents who were asked the standard Pew Research question on religious affiliation, which has been used in numerous U.S. surveys since 2007. 15 For more details on the current religious affiliation of Hispanics, see Chapter 1 .

Estimates of change in religious affiliation from 2010 to 2013 are based on Pew Research surveys that use the same standard question about religious affiliation.

Pew Research’s first major survey of Hispanics and religion, conducted in 2006 and released in 2007, used a slightly different question on religious affiliation. To allow for a direct comparison with that survey, a random subsample of 1,023 respondents in the new survey were asked about their religious affiliation using the 2006 question wording. For more details, see the sidebar in Chapter 1 .

Other analyses throughout this report are based on the full, combined sample (N=5,103).

Many Pew Research staff members contributed to the development of this survey and accompanying report. Jessica Hamar Martinez and Cary Funk were the principal researchers on this survey and lead authors of the report. They were assisted by Greg Smith, Associate Director of Religion Research. Elizabeth Sciupac contributed to the data analysis, writing and number checking. Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa and Ana Gonzalez-Barrera also assisted with questionnaire development and analysis, and Besheer Mohamed and Angelina Theodorou helped with number checking. Sandra Stencel, Tracy Miller and Michael Lipka provided editorial review and copy editing. Others who contributed to the report include Erin O’Connell, Anna Brown, Noble Kuriakose, Joseph Liu, Eileen Patten, Katherine Ritchey, Stacy Rosenberg and Bill Webster. Fieldwork for the survey was ably carried out by Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS) under the direction of David Dutwin. The questionnaire and analysis benefited from the guidance of a number of others at the Pew Research Center, especially the center’s director of Hispanic research, Mark Hugo Lopez, as well as Claudia Deane, Michael Dimock and Alan Murray. Expert advice on portions of the questionnaire was provided by R. Andrew Chesnut of Virginia Commonwealth University, Joseph M. Murphy of Georgetown University and Timothy J. Steigenga of Florida Atlantic University. All these efforts were guided by Luis Lugo, former director of the Religion & Public Life Project, and the current director, Alan Cooperman.

Pew Research previously released two other reports in October 2013 based on this survey: “ Latinos’ Views of Illegal Immigration’s Impact on Their Community Improve ” and “ Three-Fourths of Hispanics Say Their Community Needs a Leader .”

Roadmap to the Report

The remainder of this report details the survey’s findings on Latinos and religion. Chapter 1 looks at the religious affiliation of Hispanics, including religious profiles of the major Hispanic origin groups in the United States. Chapter 2 covers religious switching among Hispanics as well as reasons for leaving one’s childhood religion. Chapter 3 describes religious commitment and religious practices, including frequency of attendance at worship services, frequency of prayer and involvement in church activities aside from worship services. Chapter 4 examines Hispanics’ views of Pope Francis and of the Catholic Church more broadly. Chapter 5 discusses the ethnic characteristics of the churches that Hispanics attend, including the availability of Spanish-language worship services, the presence of Hispanic clergy and the presence of other Hispanic churchgoers. Chapter 6 explores religious beliefs, including beliefs about the Bible, the Virgin Mary and the prosperity gospel. Chapter 7 examines renewalism among Hispanics, including the beliefs and practices of those who identify as Pentecostal and charismatic Protestants and Catholics. Chapter 8 takes a closer look at the experience of the spirit world. Chapter 9 covers views on social and political issues, such as abortion, same-sex marriage, gender expectations and the role of the church in political matters.

Terms and Definitions

The terms “Latino” and “Hispanic” are used interchangeably in this report.

“U.S. born” and “native born” refer to persons who were born in the United States.

“Foreign born” refers to persons born outside of the United States, and includes those born in Puerto Rico. While those born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens by birth, they are classified in this report for analysis with others born into a Spanish-dominant culture.

“First generation” refers to foreign-born people. The terms “foreign born,” “first generation” and “immigrant” are used interchangeably in this report.

“Second generation” refers to people born in the United States, with at least one first-generation parent.

“Third and higher generation” refers to people born in the United States, with both parents born in the United States. This report uses the term “third generation” as shorthand for “third and higher generation.”

Language dominance, or primary language, is a composite measure based on self-described assessments of speaking and reading abilities. “Spanish-dominant” persons are more proficient in Spanish than in English, i.e., they speak and read Spanish “very well” or “pretty well” but rate their English-speaking and reading ability lower. “Bilingual” refers to persons who are proficient in both English and Spanish. “English-dominant” persons are more proficient in English than in Spanish.

U.S. Hispanic groups, subgroups, heritage groups and country-of-origin groups are used interchangeably to refer to a respondent’s self-classification into the group best describing “you and your family’s heritage.” This self-identification may or may not match a respondent’s country of birth or their parent’s country of birth.

Racial and ethnic groups are classified as follows unless otherwise noted: whites include only non-Hispanic whites; blacks include only non-Hispanic blacks; Hispanics are of any race.

Some trend figures in this report may differ from past publications due to differences in classifying religious groups.


Where the Hispanic Students Are (And Aren’t)

A new report that examines the reasons why nearly half of all Latino undergraduates

A new report that examines the reasons why nearly half of all Latino undergraduates enroll in just six percent of the nation’s colleges classified as “Hispanic serving institutions” offers important implications for other universities looking to attract such students, says Deborah A. Santiago, author of “Choosing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs): A Closer Look at Latino Students’ College Choices.”

“These students who went to HSIs looked at cost … location and accessibility. Whereas those who went to more selective institutions, they looked at financial aid, prestige and academic programs,” says Santiago, vice president for policy and research at Excelencia in Education, a group focused on Hispanic higher education issues that released the policy brief Thursday. The attention to sticker price among students enrolling in the nation’s 236 HSIs — which tend to be public, less expensive and less selective — in addition to these students’ failure to recognize “qualitative differences between institutions,” should show more-selective colleges that they must promote their financial aid offerings at the same time that they educate Hispanics on variations in quality, she says.

“How do you educate the students about [quality issues] in addition to the fact that their tuition and fees might be covered?” Santiago says, in framing the challenge for colleges.

Hispanic serving institutions, defined by the federal government as institutions where Hispanic students comprise at least a quarter of undergraduate enrollment, are defined by their enrollment, not their missions. Nearly half of all HSIs are public two-year colleges, 60 percent have open admissions, and the average tuition rate for public four-year HSIs (representing about 20 percent of all such institutions) is, at $1,590, less than half the average in-state tuition at public four-year institutions generally ($3,400). With their commitment to access, HSIs have evolved into “uniquely community institutions of the first choice for Latino students,” the report notes, cautioning that their general lack of selectivity should not be mistaken to suggest they “are not quality institutions of higher education,” too.

But while Hispanic students do not report being influenced by an institution’s HSI status in choosing their colleges, the colleges’ low costs, accessibility and locations in and near Latino communities “align with Latino student priorities and needs and explain why many students choose HSIs,” finds the report, which is based on interviews with students. Meanwhile, the majority of high-achieving students at HSIs, defined in the report as those with a high school grade point average of 3.1 or higher on a 4.0 scale, say “that the quality of the academic program was not the determining factor in their college choice.”

In contrast, Hispanics attending more selective institutions — who are less likely to be first-generation college students than their peers at HSIs — are more sensitive to the quality of academic programs and college reputations and are more likely to live further from their families. Although cost is also an issue for these students, they are less sensitive to sticker price, and more likely to choose the college that offers the best financial aid package.

Whereas their high-achieving peers at HSIs are less likely to have even applied for financial aid and are more likely to have turned down loans, the study finds. Many live at home to cut costs — only 7 percent of Latino undergraduates live on campus, compared to 14 percent of all undergraduates. At each focus group the researchers conducted at Hispanic serving institutions, the report finds, “students stated they chose their institution because they believed they could get a quality education there without having to go into debt.”

“We had students tell us that ‘college is college…. You can get the same education anywhere — why go elsewhere and pay more?’ ” says Santiago.

“These students are making very pragmatic decisions — not bad choices, but based on priorities different than conventional wisdom would dictate. That I think has implications for institutions across the country … so that you don’t just presume that college choices are based solely on prestige and academic programs.”


TCU’s Recruitment Strategies Yielding More Hispanic Students – and Retaining Them

In the fall of 1999, administrators at Texas Christian University (TCU), located in Fort Worth, Texas, met to devise a strategy to attract more African-American and Latino students. At that time, only 5 percent of its students were Latino; and 4 percent, African-American. After initiating a task force, TCU stepped up its efforts to diversify its campus. Ten years later, the TCU campus has become more reflective of the Fort Worth and Dallas area and its rising Hispanic and minority population. Of the 9,140 undergraduates enrolled at TCU in fall 2010, 9 percent were Hispanic and 5 per-cent were African-American. In a decade, the number of Latino students had nearly doubled while African-Americans showed a modest gain. All of this was accomplished despite a 1996 Texas court ruling prohibiting targeted minority financial aid, later reversed for private colleges.

The task force was established because TCU needed to “respond to changing demographics,” explained Darron Turner, assistant vice chancellor of student affairs, who has been at TCU for 17 years.

To attract a multicultural student population, the university took several steps, including: 1) establishing a diversity grants program, 2) targeting high schools with large minority populations, and 3) devising a special scholarship pro-gram (more about that below) to boost its multi-cultural population. In addition, it broadened its marketing efforts, putting minority students on the cover of brochures and emphasizing on bill-boards minority students beyond high-profile TCU football players.

Turner said that TCU had to “change the perception” of the local minority community. “TCU was not seen positively in the community of color,” he admitted. TCU and its admissions staff targeted minority high schools, worked with community-based organizations and even invited elementary students on campus to take standardized K-12 tests to provide exposure to TCU. When TCU admissions staff ventured into the community, “We didn’t go in as being experts in everything. We needed to find out what was going on and see how we could help,” Turner said. To connect with the Latino population, several admissions staff took classes in Spanish so they could relate to the Hispanic community. “When admissions spoke to local community folks, they had some understanding of Spanish, though they weren’t bilingual,” Turner said. During TCU’s orientation program, a work-shop on dealing with a diverse student campus was on the agenda. Many TCU freshmen attended high schools that were homogenous, mostly White, Hispanic or African-American, so preparing them to deal with a multicultural campus was deemed necessary. Since TCU is a private college and costly to working-class students, Turner said it is “aggressive at putting together financial aid packages.” The college has been successful at fundraising, enabling it to raise scholarship money and offset the full tuition price for many students. Indeed, 70 percent of TCU students receive some type of financial help from its Office of Financial Aid. Creating a more diverse student body is part of the college’s overall mission, explained Timeka Gordon, director of the Community Scholars program at TCU. “We’re trying to develop ethical leaders in a global society,” she said. This goal can only be achieved if majority students interact and engage with students who are different from them and reflect the global population. Since the Hispanic population in Texas is growing by “leaps and bounds,” it was imperative to attract more Latino students, she said. The neighborhood surrounding the college campus is extremely multicultural, Gordon noted. “When you step on campus, it’s not as diverse. We’re in this glass bubble. We wanted the campus to reflect the community,” she said. Part of the job of the admissions department was “getting into the minority communities,” explains Gordon. “It’s not always about minority students coming to us; we have to come to them,” she offered. Many low-income students don’t own cars, and traveling to campus can be difficult.

“TCU’s Community Scholars hold an outstanding record of retention with 97 percent graduating.”

A Special Scholarship Program One of TCU’s first steps in 1999-2000 was establishing the Community Scholars Program, which provided scholarships for “promising students of color from local high schools within the Fort Worth/Dallas area,” noted Gordon. The scholarships made TCU affordable and enabled it to attract some of the best and the brightest of minority students from cities in proximity to campus. Since its inception, 200 students have participated. Scholarships have increased over the years. At first, four full scholarships were offered to inner-city Fort Worth high school graduates, but by 2010 that number had grown to 30 Community Scholars, through scholarships were partial. Funding for the scholarships started at$186,000, rose to $400,000 in 2000, and by 2003 when four full classes of Community Scholars were attending TCU, the budget reached $1.2 million. Earning a scholarship is competitive. Last year, 300 students applied for the 30 Community Scholars awards. Winners are in the top 5 percent of their high school graduating class and average 1640 on the SATs or 26 on the ACTs, criteria that must be met by all incoming TCU students. Student essays, extracurricular participation, counselor’s evaluation and special talents are also taken into consideration.

Of the 113 Community Scholars currently enrolled at TCU, 52 are Hispanic, 39 are African-American, 17 are Asian-American, two are White, and three are other. Though scholarships are worth $26,000 a year, annual fees at TCU are$41,000, including room and board (and will rise 8 percent to about $44,000 a year in 2011). Hence only about 60 percent of costs are covered by the scholarships so that students need to obtain additional financial aid, grants or take out loans to finance the rest. Before their freshman year, Community Scholars participate in a two-day orientation on campus. Included is a workshop, “Bridging the Gap,” in which faculty and staff discuss social adjustments that students must make when living and studying on a diverse campus. To retain their scholarships, students must maintain a 2.75 GPA and meet other criteria. One distinctive requirement of becoming a Community Scholar is that students must live in dormitories throughout the scholarship. “We want students to be visible and engaged in the community throughout the scholarship’s four years,” Gordon explained. Scholars must also take four noncredit leadership courses and devote 30 hours of community services a year. Gordon noted that many Community Scholars volunteer at the KinderFrogs School, an early childhood education program for children with Down syndrome, on campus and at YMCAs in Fort Worth. TCU’s Community Scholars hold an outstanding record of retention with 97 percent graduating. As associate director, Gordon meets with freshman and sophomore scholarship winners one-on-one weekly to oversee their academic progress, deal with any extracurricular issues and serve as a mentor. Gordon says scholarship winners “call me mom, big sister or auntie.” Having one person oversee the program has been an instrumental role in retaining students. Gordon creates an individual academic plan to ensure that each student is on target to pass classes and progress toward graduation. Faculty provides mid-term reports on each scholarship winner’s absences and academic progress. If any academic problems arise, Gordon involves Student Support Services to provide tutors at no cost. Scholarship winners are eager to give back to TCU. “They become ambassadors for the college,” Gordon says. Community Scholars accompany admissions staff to their high school to discuss TCU and explain how minority students fit into the campus. In 2011, the Community Scholars program will undergo change. It will offer a full scholarship, but the number of students in the program will be reduced from 30 to between 20 and 25 students. The change was made because the college recognized that “As tuition went up, scholars were paying more money, which created financial issues. We didn’t want them to spend too much time working off campus, so we decided to return to offer full scholarships but fewer of them,” Turner said.

Targeting Minorities But the Community Scholars program is only one way that TCU targets minority students. TCU’s Office of Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services hosts a two-day Minority High School conference aimed at local sophomores and juniors within a 30-mile radius to provide a taste of campus life. Minority students are assigned a mentor, sit in on classes, dine in the cafeteria and meet with faculty and administrators. “It exposes TCU to students and provides a day in the life of a college student,” Gordon said. TCU Admissions also hosts Hispanic Senior Experience and Black Senior Weekends on campus. Students stay overnight on campus, are assigned a mentor in their expected major and meet with staff. Gilbert Vásquez, a sophomore biology major interested in becoming a physician, knew about TCU from growing up in Fort Worth and attending North Side High School, where he was class valedictorian. When he was named a Community Scholar, he “saw it as an opportunity. Someone was investing in me to succeed,” he said. If it weren’t for earning the scholarship, he likely couldn’t afford TCU and might have had to attend a community college. Vásquez finds the academic programs at TCU challenging and extremely competitive in premed. But he feels enriched by his courses in biology, history and “Death and Dying,” a social work class. “That class will help prepare me for dealing with patients or a death in the family,” he said. But not everything socially at TCU has been smooth and easy. When Vásquez first met his roommate, that roommate wasn’t thrilled with having a Latino in his suite. Gradually, they talked things out, and his roommate came to accept him as a person and became a friend. Now Vásquez feels that he and the other Community Scholars have formed a “family” on campus. “We see each other every day and depend on each other,” he said. While TCU has been successful at attracting more Latino students, it hasn’t produced the same results with African-American students. Why not? Turner, who is African-American, admitted, “I’ve been struggling with that for a long time and don’t have an answer. The same programs that have addressed Latinos were put in place for African-Americans,” he said, but haven’t garnered the same results. In 10 years, TCU has doubled the number of its Latino students and expects to increase that percentage in the future. Gordon explains this increase by saying, “It’s the responsibility of the university to go into the neighborhoods and communities where talented minority students are located. We can’t expect them to come to us.” And once minority students are on campus, the university must welcome, embrace and challenge them.


Widening the Circle: Guidelines for Attracting the Latino Population to a Summer Overnight Camp | American Camp Association

Currently, the camp community is particularly concerned about the future camp market — who will be the upcoming consumer? In which direction are current realities pushing the development of a camp movement? “It is said that by mid-century non-Hispanic Caucasians will be the minority. If this is true, and we look at today’s camp market, we are challenged with the reality that our camp market is fading . . . .” said Peg Smith, American Camp Association (ACA) chief executive officer (Smith 2006).

As the Latino population continues to grow in the United States, youth-serving agencies, including camps, are faced with a challenge to find new ways to deliver education and recreation programs to them. Many organizations are not aware of specific outreach strategies, which are necessary to reach out to Latinos; they do not know what programs are needed or how to deliver them to this specific group. The key issue that should be currently addressed is the successful incorporation of Latino children and youth, as well as the majority of their foreign-born parents, into the economic, social, cultural, and political life of the region.

Understanding Latino Parents

To understand the main reservations that Latino parents have towards an overnight summer camp, as well as to gauge their perception and come up with marketing and program approaches to this segment, a specially-designed survey was distributed in the Chicago area. Chicago has a great diversity of Latino populations by their country of origin. It has the second largest Mexican population in the United States, with Puerto Ricans being the second largest group after Mexican. According to the U.S. Census, more than half of Chicago-area Latinos are U.S.-born. While nearly two-thirds of adult Latinos are foreign-born, more than 80 percent of Latino children were born in the United States based on the Census data of 2000.

The survey was distributed during April and May of 2007. The survey represented a non-random sample of 209 adults and tested key issues that are of a high concern to Latino parents when determining whether to send their children to camp. The key concerns evaluated in the study were the following: the extent of parents’ willingness to even consider a summer camp as a possible recreation option for their children, the importance of having someone Latino on staff and being surrounded by children of the same or diverse ethnic background, how often parents need to communicate with their children while the camp is in session, the amount of money parents are willing to spend on a one-week overnight camp, and the distance between the home and the camp. To assess the marketing habits of Latino parents, the question about the importance of camp marketing materials being both in Spanish and English was raised.

Feedback about camp programming was asked through an open question, which asked the Latino parents to identify three main activities that they would like their children to be exposed to while being at a camp. At the end of the survey, Latino parents were asked to provide overall feedback as to what benefits they would like their children to gain from a summer camp. The conclusion of the survey focused on demographic data of the applicants, e.g., whether they were U.S. or foreign-born, their countries of origin, and the amount of time spent in the U.S.


Since “camp” has never been part of Latino culture, it takes a double effort to help Latino parents understand the actual benefits of a summer camp in the lives of their children. It is crucial to establish the necessary level of trust between parents and summer camps. It will take extra effort to convince Latino parents to even consider the idea of parting with their precious creations for a week or even two weeks.

“Summer camp is not part of the Hispanic culture. Many Hispanic parents to this date are still adamantly opposed to sending their children away for two weeks, and even a greater number of Hispanic kids really don’t want to change the comfort zone of their homes for the uncertainty of two weeks away from their families,” says David Lira Leveron, retired director of Camp Operations at the Union League Boys and Girls Clubs Camp located in Salem, Wisconsin (Leveron 2004).

In the Chicago survey analysis (see page 58), it seemed important to distinguish the difference between U.S.-born Latinos and foreign-born Latinos and their attitudes and perceptions of the concept of a summer overnight camp. However, first and foremost, he/she is a parent and has to be approached from the perspective of a parent, Latino parent, and only afterward, as a parent who is either foreign or U.S. born.

For any parent of any nationality, the safety of their children is of primary concern. It is understandable that for Latino parents, who have been accustomed to always being with their children, the prospect of sending them to a totally unknown place called a “summer camp” seems like a scary idea. Camp directors who want to attract Latino campers to their camps should ascertain that every piece of their marketing and communications strategies sends a very specific message to Latino parents. Camp directors should “sell the idea” of a summer camp to Latino parents, making it look attractive and credible in their eyes.

Many organizations that have good strategic management systems are already putting Latinos in the focus of their marketing efforts. Camps, more than any other organization, should do the same. A summer camp is a wonderful experience that leaves a profound and positive influence in a child’s life. The latest research done by ACA proves this with statistical data from more than two hundred camps. Being youth-serving organizations, camps should pay particular attention to reaching out to Latino campers. To continue making a positive impact in children’s lives, even to a larger population, camps need to reassure Latino parents that the camp environment is safe and fun.

Developing Cultural Relevancy

When working with Latino parents, it is first necessary to understand their cultural background. Cultural relevancy is the most effective way to make the message resonate with Latinos. Latinos respond most effectively to a message that reinforces the values, lifestyle, and behaviors that are familiar. Having the camp’s marketing materials and camp Web site bilingual as a courtesy to their heritage is a good marketing strategy. It is a mistake, however, to assume that using “Spanish only” materials will help to reach more Latinos. Not all Latinos necessarily speak Spanish. Offering an option to choose the language on the camp’s Web site or by having a bilingual camp brochure, camps will immediately get their information across to many more Latino parents.

Safety  Many camps in Mexico devote certain areas of their Web sites to safety issues. The camp, Icaros Campamentos, has on its homepage a link called “Seguridad” (Security) where details regarding how the camp maintains a safe environment at the camp, who takes care of the children, etc., are explained. By addressing this issue so clearly on its Web site, this camp’s management is acknowledging the high degree of importance it places on children’s safety. American camps should also explore various opportunities to address this same issue on their Web sites, in their camp brochures, parents’ handbooks, and during camp fairs and personal meetings with parents.

Bilingual Staff  A vast majority of parents surveyed indicated that they would prefer to have someone on camp staff be Latino. Despite the fact that the majority indicated they want their children to be in a diverse ethnic environment, Latino parents still feel more comfortable if someone from the same cultural and ethnic background serves as a camp staff person. Camp staff should be bilingual to clarify to parents of different acculturation levels all the possible questions and doubts that they might have about a camp. It gives them a sense of reassurance that there are people on staff who will be able to provide the culturally-appropriate sense of comfort to their children if needed.

Many opportunities exist now to have Latino counselors on staff. An international placement agency, Camp Counselors U.S.A., has just recently opened its office in Mexico City. Mexican counselors are now able to come and work in American camps along with people from all over the world.

Communication Staying in touch with their children to make sure that they are safe and happy is one of the main obstacles Latino parents see in sending them to camp. In a typical U.S. summer camp, children are rarely allowed to call home — no cell phones are permitted, access to the Internet and e-mail is limited, and parents are usually not allowed to visit their children unless they make prior arrangements with camp administration. Some camp directors think that this is the best way to help children adapt to a new environment and prevent excessive homesickness. This tactic does not work well with Latino parents. The majority of them explicitly expressed that they would consider sending their children to a summer camp only if they were allowed to communicate with them on a regular basis. A smaller percentage indicated that they do not necessarily need to talk to their children directly, but they would like to receive updates from camp staff. The camp’s communication policy should take into account that Latino parents need to be constantly reassured that their children are safe and happy.

This issue was well addressed by the Union League Boys and Girls Clubs Camp. The camp director found an interesting solution: even though children at that camp are rarely allowed to call home, parents, in turn, can call their children during mealtimes. The outcome of this policy was that every year parents start calling less and less. This camp also permitted parents to come for a visit at the camp by adopting “an open-door policy.” The camp went even further and offered those parents who were unable to get to the camp themselves, free transportation to and from the camp. Obviously, being so responsive to the primary concerns of parents led to a significant increase in the number of Latino campers attending this camp for the past few years. An open-door camp policy should establish the right channels of communication for children, parents, and the camp staff. As a way to make parents more comfortable about sending their children away, a phone call from a camp staff member on the arrival day to parents can serve as an excellent tool. Camps can set up a computer lab where children could write e-mails to their parents without having to be online. All the letters would be later sent by a camp staff member. Counselors should be encouraged to write little notes to the parents about their campers throughout the entire summer. By having access to various types of communication, parents would definitely feel more at ease sending their children away.

Word-of-Mouth “. . . It takes ten satisfied parents to convince one doubtful parent to finally send his/ her children to camp. At the same time, it takes one unsatisfied parent to convince ten parents not to send their kids to camp (Leveron 2004).” This was clearly proven by the Chicago survey. A large number of parents put “word-of-mouth” as the main vehicle of their decision-making process of choosing a summer camp. Camps should strive for building real partnerships with parents by actively involving them in camp life. Motivate camper parents to volunteer at your camp or ask for their input about current programming. Camps can also partner with schools in the communities, organizing educational presentations about the value of a camp experience and camp programs. Another suggestion is to offer a family week-end trip when parents could come and experience a summer camp together with their children. By familiarizing themselves with the concept of a summer camp and by getting to know the camp director and the facility, chances are much higher that these parents will send their children to a camp. It should not be neglected that Latinos tend to be extremely receptive to the testimonials of celebrities.

Session Length and Fees  The majority of survey responses showed that Latino parents would be comfortable letting their children go away to camp for no more than two weeks. Camps should organize their summer schedule by offering one- and two-week sessions.

A vast majority of respondents indicated that they were not willing to pay more than $100 for a one-week camp. However, there was a small sample of people (16 out of 209) who mentioned they would be willing to spend over $300 for a one-week camp. Camps must distinguish whether their recruitment goal is to target as many Latinos as possible or whether the goal is to target specific groups of Latinos at certain income levels. Survey results showed that the more children there are in the family, the more likely parents are willing to send them to a summer camp. Camps are strongly encouraged to offer an attractive discount system for siblings attending the same camp.

Today, many Latino parents still need to be educated about the value of a summer camp. Camps first need to make their own “investments” in earning and establishing credibility in Latino parents’ eyes.

The last question in the survey asked parents to express what it is that they wanted their children to get out of a summer camp. What specific benefits would they hope their children would gain from this experience? There was a very consistent pattern identified in the answers to this question. The main benefits that parents hoped their children would enjoy were the ability to interact and communicate with each other, to become more disciplined and mature, and to become more responsible and independent.

Camp may be the only place left in our world that provides the everyday opportunity to influence young people in such a profound and positive way. “There are currently more than 12,000,000 Hispanic children in the U.S. whose parents need to be educated about the benefits of the camp experience (Leveron 2004).” Camps that are willing to continue being relevant today and tomorrow are highly encouraged to focus their attention on attracting the Latino population to a summer overnight camp.

Survey Analysis

Author’s Note:  I would like to express my gratitude to the people who supported my research efforts: Phillis Johnson, AEMM associate chairperson, Columbia College Chicago; Paulette Whitfield, graduate faculty, Columbia College Chicago; Gordie Kaplan, American Camp Association, Illinois, executive director; Jenifer Vargo, development director, Association House of Chicago; Lauren Smith, Out-of-School Time supervisor, Association House of Chicago; Angelica Gomez, The Learning Place supervisor, Association House of Chicago; Carmen M. Sanchez, principal of Irving Park Middle School; Hector Rodriguez, principal of Carman Buckner Elementary, Waukegan; and Dr. Ana Gil Garcia, associate professor of Northeastern Illinois University and President of Fulbright Chicago Chapter. My special thanks goes to David Leveron, retired director of camp operations, Union League Boys and Girls Clubs. Interacting closely with him for the past year and a half and being given a wonderful opportunity to work at his summer camp brought an incredible insight to my project and my overall understanding of Latino culture and particularly Latino parents.

References Smith, P. (2006). “Letter from Peg,” Camping Magazine, American Camp Association. November/December 2006.  Masud-Piloto, F. “Latinos in the Midwest: Advancing in el Mero Medio,” Dialogo, Center for Latino Research, DePaul University. Fall 2005 #9.  Lira Leveron, D. (2004). “Outreaching to Diverse Communities: The Hispanic Community,” Camping Magazine. American Camp Association, July/August 2004.

Marina Lukanina is a special projects coordinator at ASPIRA in Chicago and has served as an international counselor in American summer camps.

Originally published in the 2008 March/April issue of  Camping Magazine .


What Can Latinos Do to Increase College Enrollment?

Nearly 3 million Latinos are enrolled in colleges and universities, making us the second largest group at the undergraduate level.

Headlines and studies continuously reference the increasing Latino population—and representation in higher education is no exception. Latinos in higher education are concentrated in several key states: California, Texas, Florida and New York. However, Latino enrollment numbers are also increasing in states not generally known for having large Latino populations, such as Indiana, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

As a result of these population increases, higher education planning is critical to address the education needs of the country.

Locating schools The majority of Latino students are enrolled in a small number of institutions, known as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). These institutions can be two-year or four-year, public or private, not-for-profit institutions.

“Just 23 percent of Latino adults have an Associate’s degree or higher, significantly lower than all other groups.”

There are currently 409 HSIs located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico and they enroll 60 percent of all Latino undergraduate students.

Two characteristics that have been identified to play a key role in attracting Latino students to HSIs are their relatively inexpensive tuition and their proximity to students’ homes.

Better than GED Although HSIs provide increased access to higher education for Latinos, we must also continue to focus on increasing the numbers of Latinos completing higher education credentials. Just 23 percent of Latino adults have an Associate’s degree or higher, significantly lower than all other groups.

Here are some ways to help increase these numbers:

Financial aid — Latinos students are more likely to be low-income and work off-campus while attending school, resulting in longer time to completing a degree. Increasing the amounts of grants and scholarships available for students can help students continue and complete their programs at a quicker pace.

Student and parent orientation — Since the majority of Latinos enrolled in college are the first in their family to attend, these programs help provide students and their families information on what is expected to succeed in college

Engage the student’s voice — Institutions can develop approaches that acknowledge the realities of the students they are serving by engaging them in the decision-making process.

Together we can increase Latino college completion and in doing so create a stronger community, workforce, and civic leadership.


Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Hispanic-Serving Institutions

According to the U.S. Department of Education, “a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) is defined as an institution of higher education that—(A) is an eligible institution; and (B) has an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic students at the end of the award year immediately preceding the date of application.”  While this definition nicely sums up the requirements a school must meet to become an HSI, being an HSI and truly serving the Hispanic community goes beyond statistics.  And so as we enter our 28th year, we here at Hispanic Outlook are beginning an ongoing article series highlighting those schools that have achieved HSI status and how they are truly Hispanic-Serving Institutions.


With its main campus in Illinois, AU prides itself on being an inclusive community dedicated to the transformative power of learning.  Its student organizations include the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), which is designed to provide students with new friendships and greater awareness of Latin American cultures on campus and to promote the pursuit of leadership opportunities, networking skills, academic success and community service. AU offers more than 40 undergraduate majors in arts and sciences, business, criminal justice, education, nursing and social work. It also offers a wide variety of master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as certificates and endorsements.


BFIT is an urban college that serves the Boston region and values its diverse community and the fostering of a supportive learning environment. Its student clubs include the Multicultural Student Association (MSA), which is a student lead organization that focuses on social, educational and awareness programming. The mission of the MSA is to bring awareness and develop a welcoming community to students across different cultural backgrounds. Programs offered include automotive management, automotive technology, biomedical engineering technology, computer technology, construction management, electrical technology, electrical engineering, electronic engineering technology, health information technology, mechanical engineering technology, opticianry, and technology business & management.


CCD is dedicated to expanding access, particularly for underserved first-generation and minority students. Nearly 50 percent of CCD students are first-generation and more than 60 percent qualify for financial aid. Its student organizations include DREAMer’s United, which is designed to empower students to overcome the adversity and stigma that is associated with being a DREAMer by creating a positive impact in the community through volunteer opportunities and campus involvement.  CCD’s academic centers are as follows: the Advanced Manufacturing Center, Arts & Humanities, Career & Technical Education, Health Sciences at Lowry, Math & Science, and Performing Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences.


As a distinctive, comprehensive university of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, CUC equips men and women to serve and lead with integrity, creativity, competence and compassion in a diverse, interconnected and increasingly urbanized church and world. Its student clubs include the Emerging Latina Leadership Association (ELLA) and the Latino Student Union (LSU). In addition, CUC’s website has resources for first-generation college students and their parents, including advice and success stories from students and military veterans, and a virtual campus tour. CUC is divided into five colleges: Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, Graduate Studies, and Innovation and Professional Programs.


With six campuses, FAU provides a supportive learning environment by offering a broad range of academic programs, activities and services.  Student organizations include The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Spanish Club (Club de Español), the Latin American Student Association and Uniendo Culturas (Spanish Club), as well as Ballroom of FAU, which teaches such dances as the salsa, the tango, the cha cha and the merengue. FAU has ten colleges offering more than 170 degree programs in fields that include the arts and humanities, the sciences, medicine, nursing, accounting, business, education, public administration, social work, architecture, engineering, and computer science.


Located in northern New Jersey, MSU delivers the instructional and research resources of a large public university in a supportive, sophisticated and diverse academic environment. It’s student clubs and organizations include the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), as well as the Multicultural Psychology Scholars.  MSU is divided into 10 colleges and schools: College of the Arts, College of Education and Human Services, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Science and Mathematics, Feliciano School of Business, John J. Cali School of Music, New Jersey School of Conservation, School of Communication and Media, School of Nursing and The Graduate School.


Part of the State University of New York System (SUNY), NCC serves students of all ages and backgrounds and offers day, evening, weekend, online, continuing and professional programs.  It’s student organizations include The Student Organization of Latinos (S.O.L.), which is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of all its members, who are representatives of the Latino diaspora, as well as the entire population that makes up college. NCC’s programs are in more than 70 fields of study and include the liberal arts, accounting & business administration, economics and finance, foreign languages, English, legal studies, nursing, criminal justice, and engineering/physics/technology.


Based in Texas, TC prides itself on creating a fair, impartial and inclusive educational and work environment that promotes mutual respect, social responsibility and open communication among students, faculty, staff and the public. Its student organizations include the Young Adult League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) whose purpose is to cultivate a better understanding of the Latin-American culture and its relationship with TC’s students and its community, as well as to encourage Latin-Americans to continue their education. TC offers more than 60 different programs of study including vocational nursing, accounting, pre-law, biology, geology, environmental science and criminal justice.



At UCI, the idea that true progress is made when different perspectives come together to advance understanding of the world is incorporated into its founding mission to catalyze the community and enhance lives through rigorous academics, cutting-edge research and dedicated public service.  Campus organizations include the Latin American Student Organization and the Spanish Club at UCI, as well as Mesa Unida, which promotes unity among UCI’s Chicano/Latino Organizations.  Fields of study include business, law, engineering, the arts, education, information & computer sciences, humanities, interdisciplinary studies, medicine, nursing, public health, social ecology, social sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, biological sciences and physical sciences.


With three campuses based in California, WU University strives to create a climate that values engagement in addressing issues of diversity and inclusiveness in part by actively recruiting and encouraging diverse candidates to apply as students, staff and faculty. Its student organizations include the Coordinadora Latinoamericano de Estudiantes de Arquitectura (CLEA), and Woodbury’s Office of International Student Services serves a large international population hailing from more than 40 countries including Colombia, Mexico and Spain. It’s divided into four areas: a School of Business, a College of Liberal Arts, a School of Architecture and a School of Media Culture & Design.

Logos and information all courtesy of their individual schools



The four programs chosen as Excelencia in Education’s 2017 Examples of Excelencia were among 19 finalists that were selected from 161 programs from 25 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia and nominated in four categories: associate, baccalaureate, graduate degree and community-based organization.

Below are the other 15 finalists listed by category:


Alamo Advise, Alamo Colleges District (TX)

Focus on Student Success [FOSS], Laredo Community College (TX)

Long Beach College Promise, Long Beach City College (CA)

MDC’s Shark Path, Miami Dade College (FL)

Transitional Bilingual Learning Community [TBLC], Harry S. Truman College (IL)


Center for English Language Acquisition and Culture [CELAC], Saint Peter’s University (NJ)

Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program, Arizona State University (AZ)

Science Bound, Iowa State University (IA)

Students Transitioning to Engaged and Motivated Success [STEM Success], California State University, Stanislaus (CA)


Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute, Arizona State University (AZ)

McNair Scholars Program, University of Central Florida (FL)

California State University Northridge [CSUN] (CA)


Abriendo Puertas (Memphis, TN)

Adelante Hispanic Achievers (Louisville, KY)

Dream Catchers, Catch the Next, Inc. (Austin, TX)

Scholarship/College Preparation and Life Skills Training, Linda Lorelle Scholarship Fund (Houston, TX)

Source Excelencia in Education


University of Michigan Finds New Ways to Attract Latinos and Minorities

The University of Michigan’s (U-M) 2003 U.S. Supreme Court victory in Gratz v Bolllinger was cut short in 2006 by the passage of Michigan ballot Proposal 2/2006, which prohibits the use of affirmative action as a way to spur minority enrollment and even the playfield for undergraduate admissions. But that hasn’t stopped the university from finding innovative ways to target Latino and African-American students that don’t contradict the Supreme Court ruling or give admissions preference to minority students.

Latinos account for 5 percent of the state of Michigan population, a much smaller percentage than in California or Florida, said William Collins, director of the university’s Center for Educational Outreach, which was launched in 2008 to find ways to reach minority audiences. The Latino population in Michigan, how-ever, is expected to double in the next 15 years, so attracting Hispanics is critical if the university wants to reflect the state population. Since the Center for Educational Outreach is not connected to the admissions department, it doesn’t admit students but makes minorities aware of what the college offers.

Gaining acceptance to the University of Michigan is demanding. Of its freshman class in 2010, students averaged a 3.8 GPA and 31 to 36 on the ACT. Still, U-M prides itself on attracting a diverse student body and reports that of its 41,924 undergraduates, 5 percent are Latino, 6 percent are African-American, 1.5 percent are Native American and 15 percent are Asian-American, constituting a 26 percent minority population. In 2008 the university launched the College Corps program – an intensive, 10-week program of workshops focused on college access and awareness that targets secondary school students in underserved communities, explains Michael Turner, coordinator of College Corps and outreach coordinator at the university, based in Ann Arbor. The workshops concentrate on financial aid, careers, setting goals and applying to college. Why start College Corps? “It’s a response to the Supreme Court verdict. The university isn’t blind to the fact that many of these communities are underresourced,” Turner said. Hence the program tries to level the playing field and provide opportunities for talented minorities who can meet U-M’s criteria. While it hopes to attract students to U-M, if students are inspired to attend Eastern Michigan University or a community college, the program still meets its goals, Turner suggests. Thirty University of Michigan students, mostly Latino undergraduates, tutor and mentor students in middle and high schools in Monroe, Mich., located 30 miles south of Ann Arbor. “You must reach them early. Twelfth grade is too late,” Collins said. The Latino U-M undergraduates that volunteer receives no pay but want to give back to the community. They mentor 30 Monroe students after school, helping them with academic work and explaining what colleges expect from students. Nearly 90 percent are first-generation Latinos whose parents haven’t attended college. The university of Michigan coordinates two College Corps programs. The Monroe program attracts mostly Latino students. The other program is located in Brightmor, a Detroit neighborhood whose school population is mostly African-American. Both programs are open to students of other ethnic backgrounds as well. Turner would like to see a program started in Dearborn, where a large Muslim population resides. Both programs are funded by a $12,000 Michigan Campus Compact Grant, which requires a yearly resubmission. Combined, the programs cost about$30,000 to run annually, and U-M supplies the additional $18,000 funding. College Corps is filling in the admissions gaps since the high schools don’t have the budgets to provide intensive college counseling. One of its primary goals is to raise students’ aspirations. Many of the Latino students only have community colleges on their radar screen, and College Corps encourages them, when appropriate, to consider more academically rigorous colleges, such the University of Michigan. “How do we reach out to communities and make them aware of college culture and position them to go to college and become high-earning members of society?” asks Collins. Turner added, “We want them to know that college is possible.” Students are taught that attending a college requires extensive planning and an ability to choose the college that best fits their academic performance. The College Corps workshops teach a variety of skills. For example, students learn goal setting, which entails how to set a plan and complete it, such as applying to college or researching financial aid. Students are encouraged to show perseverance and not give up if they reach an impediment or obstacle. During the workshops, students fill out applications for three different colleges to provide exposure to the complicated admissions process, which has derailed many minority students. A U-M financial aid officer leads a workshop that explains how to apply for financial aid, including Pell Grants, and explains what resources and aid colleges such as University of Michigan offer.

““College Corps is an intensive, 10-week program of workshops focused on college access and awareness that targets secondary school students in underserved communities.”” — Michael Turner, Coordinator of College Corps, Outreach Coordinator, U-M

Ingredients that Make College Corps Successful Two other aspects of the program contribute to its effectiveness: involving parents and bringing students to the University of Michigan campus. College Corps holds two parents nights. To attract parents, it notifies them of events via regular mail and e-mail and, as an incentive, provides dinner. During the program, parents listen to a financial aid representative who explains how college can be made affordable through grants, scholarships and loans. In addition, Monroe students are brought on campus to attend a Latino cultural event that includes classical dance and musical performances. “We want to immerse them in campus life,” said Turner, a Detroit native, so students don’t see it as a “foreign territory. Students need to feel welcome on campus.”

Attracting the Right Volunteers Is Essential Another key to the program’s effectiveness is attracting U-M students on campus as tutors and mentors who have a willingness to help others. Since University of Michigan is a highly competitive college and students must spend time working with students after class and travel 30 miles to Monroe, under-graduates must be very willing to give back. College Corps works closely with Maximizing Academic Success (MAS), which was started at U-M as a student-run organization to expose Latino youth to higher education, explains María Rahman, who heads MAS and is a fourth-year engineering major. Mentors must take a three-credit sociology course, Project Community, that trains them to work with high school students and focuses on social justice. Collins says that College Corps mentors are trained in how to understand and cope with issues that can arise for Latino students. For example, Latinas, even those with high GPAs, have often been discouraged from attending college in order to help out home with younger children or earning money to balance the family budget. Students explain to parents that earning a college degree can multiply their earnings many times over during their working life.

Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Works

Another factor that contributes to making the program effective is peer-to-peer mentoring. It raises a high school student’s comfort level when the mentor is someone with whom the adolescent can identify, someone who understands what the teenager is experiencing. University professors can be intimidating to first-generation students who aren’t familiar with college. Rahman added, “It allows students to be comfortable enough to listen and learn from one another without the typical hierarchal learning styles.” The student volunteers who succeed show “timeliness, organization, professionalism and an eagerness to learn, as well as helping others,” Rahman said. Why do students volunteer? Turner says that the undergraduate mentors and tutors volunteer for a variety of reasons, but most have a passion for helping others. Volunteers are often involved in helping fields such as teaching and nursing but can also be science and music majors who want to deepen their knowledge. Said Rahman, “Aside from a great community service activity on their résumé, it allows them to break away from the rigorous college routine and make a difference in one person’s life.” Rahman said she’d like to see the Monroe students get help with their test taking. Collins noted that “minority students haven’t fared well on standardized tests. They haven’t had the experience and exposure with test taking.” When Skylar Soto was in middle school in Monroe, Mich., she participated in Maximizing Academic Success. MAS, she said, provided tutoring and academic preparation but also created an entire support system for the mostly minority participants. “If you needed support for anything, academic help or socially, someone at MAS was there to offer help,” Soto said. Her MAS experience led her to participate in College Corps. In the fall of 2010, Soto started as a freshman at the University of Michigan. She’s part of the College of Engineering and leaning toward majoring in mechanical engineering. Since she’s most talented at math and enjoys problem-solving, engineering suits her. She says engineering offers a wealth of opportunities, challenges, and careers. Soto’s mom and dad are Mexican and American. Her dad works on the Chrysler assembling line, and her mom, who is Caucasian, is a waitress in Monroe. MAS provided early exposure to the University of Michigan campus, which motivated Soto back then to envision attending U-M. Soto describes College Corps as offering college preparation, emphasizing teamwork and collaboration, and providing scholarship information. She learned how to apply for college and financial aid, which helped her identify $18,000 in scholarship money, reducing her need to take out loans. “I thought I had a grasp on scholarships, but I learned that there was a lot I didn’t know,” she admitted. As a freshman at U-M, Soto had to make certain adjustments. For example, she had to master managing her time, “and not waiting until the last minute because there’s no one there to discipline you.” But since one-quarter of U-M’s student body is minority, and minorities have a strong presence on campus, Soto felt as if she fit into campus life. College Corps and MAS paved the way and showed her “there were many opportunities and resources on campus,” she said. After two years, College Corps has not been evaluated, but Turner says it should be judged on whether the high school students are improving academically, their attendance in the workshops, parental involvement, and what percentage of students apply and are accepted by colleges. Overall, what’s the effect of College Corps on Monroe’s minority students? “It levels the playing field and provides more access to college for first-generation students. The university meets students where they’re at, in their community. It focuses on academic excellence,” Turner said.


How Mass. colleges are leading the way in attracting Latino students – The Boston Globe

By Mary Carmichael Globe Staff  June 10, 2012

The first adjective one might use to describe Amherst College is “bucolic,’’ or maybe “prestigious.’’ Chances are “diverse’’ doesn’t even crack the top 25. But a decade ago, the school’s “top echelons made an outright decision that it would no longer be a bastion of the white, wealthy elite,’’ says Ilan Stavans, a professor of Latin American and Latino Culture there who has mentored many Latino students. Amherst has since doubled its Latino enrollment from about 6 percent to 12. In 2010, praising its commitment, Hispanic Magazine named it the number five school in the country for Latinos.

Amherst’s results are the envy of many colleges, and not just for ideological reasons. Recruiting minorities can be a survival strategy for small schools, especially those in the Northeast, which are staring down a demographic barrel: The region’s teenage population is shrinking. Most colleges depend on tuition for revenue, so keeping enrollment steady is paramount. But for the next few years, there will be an unusually shallow pool of potential students. To maintain their numbers, schools will have to recruit high-schoolers who might not otherwise attend college – and that will mean, among other things, reaching out to minority and low-income groups.

While Amherst, with its $1.6 billion endowment, has plenty of money to devote to recruitment and scholarships, there are other ways to boost minority enrollment, and Massachusetts is ahead of the curve. The Commonwealth is one of the top 15 states enrolling Latinos, and according to a national report released in April, it saw one of the largest jumps in degrees conferred to Latinos over a three-academic-year period, from 2005 – 06 to 2007-08. The report from Excelencia, a group that studies trends in higher education that affect Latinos, lists a number of strategies that are proven to work, and the local colleges that have such programs in place are getting results – fast.

The federal government would like to see statistics like Amherst’s replicated nationwide. President Obama is keen to have the country double its number of college graduates by 2020 so it can regain its worldwide top ranking for college degree attainment. To make that happen, Latinos alone will need to earn 5.5 million degrees by 2020, according to the April Excelencia report. “It’s a very big priority,’’ says Eduardo Ochoa, the government’s assistant secretary for postsecondary education. “Given the demographic shifts that are baked into our population, we are going to have to substantially increase the numbers.’’ All of which suggests other schools should be following Amherst’s lead.

But the elite school enjoys advantages that make it hard for other colleges to emulate its effort to recruit Latinos. Amherst’s students arrive academically well prepared, increasing chances they will graduate. Amherst’s healthy endowment means it can afford to give students plenty of financial aid – the average award is $41,150 and includes no loans – saving students the need to take jobs that might detract from their studies. During recruitment season, the school flies almost 200 kids from around the country to campus for “diversity open houses.’’ Once students are enrolled, it buys them two round-trip plane tickets apiece every year. That can make a big difference to Latino students from the Southwest, says admissions director Tom Parker, because “these may be kids who have never been to Massachusetts – maybe kids who have never even been in an airport.’’

That is a luxury very few schools can afford. The challenge for most colleges, and thus for the country, is how to achieve results like Amherst’s without its resources.

In 2006, Wheelock College in Boston “literally had one Latino student in the entering class,’’ said Adrian Haugabrook, who oversees student success and diversity initiatives there. Numbers overall weren’t much better: There were 27 Latinos, about 5 percent of the student body of 560. Today, about 15 percent of Wheelock’s students are Latino.

How did Wheelock do it? Haugabrook launches into a long list of new programs, including community outreach that begins as early as third grade. One weekend mentoring program run by Wheelock students, the Mattahunt Boys Academy, “was so successful that we created Mattahunt Girls Academy as well,’’ he says. Even better: through a combination of federal grants and shuffled resources, the school has managed to dramatically change its profile without dipping deeply into its bank account.

Public schools are making a point of targeting Latinos, too. At the state’s 19 community colleges, recruiting is not much of a problem: anyone can enroll, and many schools are bursting at the seams. Some have enormous local Latino populations from which to draw students. Northern Essex Community College, for instance, has two of its three campuses in Lawrence, where 73.8 percent of the population identifies as Latino; almost a third of the school’s students are Latino, too – a major increase from five years ago.

But keeping those students in school is harder than luring them in. Latino students graduate from Northern Essex at a lower rate than the college student population at large. Still, with the help of a federal grant for schools with 25 percent or more Latino students, the college has been trying creative approaches to close the gap – from establishing a Latino-only student support group to bringing in the Dominican writer Junot Díaz, fresh off his Pulitzer Prize, for a creative writing workshop.

Among the current class of Northern Essex graduates are inspiring stories, like that of Herinell Linares, who came to the United States at 17 speaking no English. He managed to learn the language and discover an aptitude for math – all while working full time – by seeking out a new center on campus that provides intense tutoring. Five years later, he is graduating and going on to the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he will study electrical engineering.

But success like Linares’s does not come easily. Even at places like Amherst, Latino students face challenges that can not necessarily be overcome by policies, programs, or large infusions of cash. For one, they are not a monolithic group, so no single program works for all of them: They hail from different economic classes, locations, and ethnic backgrounds. Another problem: Many are wary of seeking help from their teachers because they have been raised to keep authority figures at a respectful distance. “You have to work sometimes for years to break that,’’ says Amherst’s Stavans.

Undocumented Latino students bear yet another burden, Stavans adds, “and that is a sense of secrecy and vulnerability. They’re essentially closeted.’’

The DREAM Act – the national bill that would give illegal aliens temporary-resident status if they complete at least two years at a four-year college – might alleviate that feeling and give undocumented students hope that they can reap a major benefit of higher education: a good job after graduation. But so far the rhetoric around the bill may have made some students feel wary of college.

And another political development on the horizon could become an obstacle. The Supreme Court will hear a landmark case on affirmative action in college admissions this fall, and – unlike the last time it considered the policy – it has five justices likely to give a thumbs-down.

“If they say you can not use race in any circumstances whatsoever,’’ says Parker, “there’s no doubt it will have an effect.’’ At that point, even wealthy Amherst may have a problem.

Mary Carmichael is a Globe reporter. She can be reached at mary.carmichael @globe .com. Follow her on Twitter @mary_carmichael . Continue Reading


MDC’s Shark Path

Shark Path is an intentional weave of strategies, programs, activities, and interventions that guides students at every stage of their journey from admissions to completion of a credential and transition to the next stage—entry into a baccalaureate program or the labor market. The guided pathway integrates a three-tiered (pre-college, first year, and college mentoring) model of advising using a case management proactive approach. Pre-college advisors (PCA) engage students early and encourage their attendance in college while forming connections with MDC.  Once enrolled, during mandatory orientation, new students become acquainted with their assigned First Year Advisor (FYA), who during the first term, provides career exploration and, in conjunction with the student, develops an Individualized Academic Plan using the Course Sequence Guides. Once 25% of students’ classes are completed, they are assigned a college mentor, who is a faculty or department advisor, who provides guidance on internships, career options, and/or transfer to a four-year institution while focusing on persistence and completion.


The program has two complementary goals: transformative change in the student experience to increase progression and completion, and increased organizational capacity for innovation and improvement to sustain this change. The Shark Path steps to success for students consist of: (1) complete admissions application and financial aid, (2) attend mandatory orientation, (3) complete career assessment and declare program of study, (4) complete English, math, and first year experience course during first term, (5) complete an Individualized Academic Plan during first term, and (6) reach milestones to stay on track to completion within less than three years. Overall, Shark Path seeks to increase enrollment of new students each fall, successful completion of English and math, fall-fall retention, and 150% completion rates.


Since inception in 2012, over 50,000 new, first-time-in-college direct-entry (FTIC-DE) students have benefited from Shark Path with clearly defined programs of study, aligned supplemental instruction and co-curricular activities, and policies that support student achievement.

In 2015, by the end of their first term, 94% of Hispanic students declared a program of study. Students were also able to improve the following:

Math pass rates • First Time in College students passing Gateway Math within their first year, first attempt increased by 12%.

English Pass rates • First Time in College students passing Gateway English within their first year, first attempt increased by 16%.

Average Hispanic Fall-to-Spring and Fall-to-Fall retention rates: • 91% fall-to-spring and 75% fall-to-fall retention rate for Hispanic students served by the program compared to 87% fall-to-spring and 69% fall-to-fall of white non-Hispanic students served by the program.

Achievement of sophomore status by the end of first Spring • Increased from 12% to 17%.

Increase in Hispanic applicants • Increased by 34% from 9,106 in Fall 2012 to 12,160 in Fall 2015.

Increase in Hispanic enrollment • Increased by 17% from 6,181 in Fall 2012 to 7,227 in Fall 2015.

Completion rates at 150% • Have increased from 31% of Hispanic students in 2012 to 36% of Hispanic students in 2015.


2017 Examples of Excelencia Finalist


Adelante Hispanic Achievers, Inc.

Adelante is a volunteer-based program that began with twice monthly, Saturday mentoring and enrichment workshops to 25 middle-school students. It now serve 135 students across seven programs weekly, including: Mentoring & Enrichment, After School Tutoring programs, College Readiness, Ambassadors, Bellarmine Academy Martes, and TJX Scholarships. Adelante uses a wraparound model to serve students long term; students enter in grade six and continue through high school graduation. They focus on the holistic and individual development of each student, including academics, career exploration, cultural awareness, and personal/social development. They engage parents as partners and create sense of community. Each student is expected to set and meet high educational, personal, and career goals. To meet these goals they are surrounded with supportive, informed adults including parents, mentors, tutors, and community leaders.


Adelante’s mission is to inspire and empower Hispanic youth and their families to become self-sufficient, successful individuals with the skills and knowledge they need to achieve their dreams and contribute as creative, educated world citizens.

Students will:

1. Become high academic achievers, and maintain excellent grades, GPAs, and school attendance

2. Graduate from high school college-ready and prepared for post-secondary success

3. Develop leadership skills and civic responsibility they can carry into their futures

4. Gain a deeper grasp of their own and others’ cultures so they can understand their situations in a broader human context

Adelante will:

5. Build a culture of education and success within Louisville’s growing Latino population


In 11 years of operation, Adelante has served over 600 “at-risk” students.

• Average GPA: 3.22 • Advance Placement and Honors class participants: 50% of students. • High school graduation rate: 100% • Attend college of choice on academic scholarships: 100%

Adelante has 21 high school graduates who were in the program since middle school. Of those students, two have graduated from college, and the rest are currently enrolled.


2017 Examples of Excelencia Finalist

Program Focus

College Prep


Focus on Student Success (FOSS)

FOSS was created to provide students with support in their crucial first year of college, setting the expectation for academic success, transfer, and graduation to pass gatekeeper courses at LCC. The program includes a Summer Bridge experience, which focuses on academics, engagement, and financial literacy. Throughout the year students receive advising, tutoring, and mentoring. Since their second summer, the program has used a central theme based on popular culture and consistent use of media and gamification has raised positive awareness and interest in the program. This year the Game of Thrones book and series is the theme for the Summer Bridge for the entire college. Based on strong results the practices have been embraced, emulated, and institutionalized.


FOSS’ Goal is to retain, transfer, and graduate students with a bachelor’s degree. Four Components are crucial to improve post-secondary student success. C1: Ensure student success at intake and transfer by establishing activities to bridge the transition from high school and to ensure a seamless transfer to a bachelor’s degree. C2: Increase student success in gatekeeper courses through enhanced student services and increased faculty development training. C3: Develop and implement a Model Transfer Program to help students overcome barriers. C4: Use data to improve decision making to reach goals and to document project and student success.


In the first year, first attempt pass rates (A, B, C) in gatekeeper courses at LCC were at least 20% higher than for the general college population. By the third year, pass rates were 90-100%:

History 1301

FOSS 2015 pass rate: 90% compared to 66% of a control group Math 1314

FOSS 2015 pass rate: 100% compared to 70% of a control group English 1301

FOSS 2015 pass rate: 100% compared to 71% of a control group Persistence rates at LCC have increased: The program’s 2012 baseline was 25%. The persistence rates for years 2013 – 2015 were 70%, 83%, and 85% respectively.

Transfer rates have increased:

From cohorts I-II:  38/80 of students have transferred thus far, a 47% transfer rate compared to 14% baseline. For cohort III, 46 new students participated in FOSS activities. The fall to fall retention rate was 83% (38/46). The retention rate exceeded the baseline of 25%. Due to the success of FOSS Summer Bridge, the same format is going to be used with a recent STEM grant at the institution. The summer bridge component will now be offered institution wide.


2017 Examples of Excelencia Finalist

Program Focus

First Year Support, Summer Bridge


Abriendo Puertas

Abriendo Puertas (AP) works to increase college access for Latino students in the Mid-South. They provide weekly after school meetings at five partner high schools in Shelby County. They follow a national curriculum called Escalera, created by UnidosUS  (formerly the National Council of La Raza). These meetings are supplemented with one-on-one advising and extra curricular activities that include college prep advice, ACT workshops, leadership development, civic engagement trips, and other professional and academic support. Their services help students feel empowered to pursue their goals and to become leaders in their communities.


The mission of AP is to increase post-secondary access for Latino students in the Mid-South through academic support and leadership development, ensuring that juniors and seniors are empowered with the tools and support necessary to graduate on time and pursue post-secondary opportunities. They work towards these goals using two primary objectives: (1) Latino high school students will graduate on time and are college ready, and (2) Latino high school graduates will enroll in a post-secondary degree or certificate program in the fall after their graduation.


Abriendo Puertas students have out-performed their peers by graduating and pursuing post-secondary education at the following rates:

• 99% of AP students graduate high school on time, compared to a 75% HS graduation rate for students in Shelby County, and 70% for Latino students in Shelby County • The average ACT scores of AP student’s are 3-points higher than that of their Latino peers not served by the program, and 2-points higher than all of Shelby County students • 100% rate of acceptance to a post-secondary institution for those of our students who graduated on time, and a 67 percent rate of post-secondary enrollment.


2017 Examples of Excelencia Finalist

Program Focus

College Prep


Scholarships/College Preparation and Life Skills Training

The Linda Lorelle Scholarship Fund (LLSF) provides college scholarships to a population of students often overlooked by other scholarship funds in the Greater Houston area. Many of the students have average grades, yet they have a burning desire to go to college and are capable of succeeding if given the support and encouragement they so desperately need. The scholarships become part of each student’s overall financial aid package and are sizeable enough ($5,000 – $15,000 each) to enable students to pay for a major part of their tuition and books. LLSF provides additional tools through their SMART Seminar Series where they provide mandatory, monthly training during each scholar’s senior year of high school. (Educational materials for Latino students are offered in both Spanish and English.) Throughout their scholar’ss college career they monitor student’s academic progress by evaluating their tuition request form each semester, which shows current contact information, current GPA, what classes they are enrolled in, and what their major/minor is. This allows LLSF to monitor and provide students with support as needed, ranging from the occasional phone call and cards of encouragement to assisting with a financial or personal challenge.


Program Mission: To increase post-secondary matriculation in the Greater Houston area by preparing students not just for college, but for life. Goals: 1. Students will complete the required developmental sequence (SMART Series) and enroll in a post-secondary institution. 2. To facilitate successful college transition, retention, and completion. 3. To facilitate successful career placement upon college graduation.


Data acquired through the tuition request forms helps the LLSF track student persistence and success: Demographics: • 57% are first generation college students. • 44.5% self-identify as Latino.

Scholars that have completed the Linda Lorelle Scholarship Fund’s Scholarship/College Preparation and Life Skills Training program preform significantly better than their peers, with measured outcomes for Latino students equivalent or better than the overall LLSF scholar population: • 100% of LLSF scholars graduate on time from high school and 99% successfully enroll into post-secondary education. • 85% of LLSF scholars graduate from college within six years of their freshman semester. The metric rates are identical for the general LLSF scholar population and Latino scholar population. • The Average LLSF scholar GPA is 3.09, Latino LLSF scholar’s GPAs are comparable at 3.07


2017 Examples of Excelencia Finalist

Program Focus

College Prep, Scholarship


Department of Bilingual Education

The graduate programs in the Department of Bilingual Education (DBE) at Boise State University aim to shape leaders in both classroom instruction and advocacy for the linguistically and culturally diverse children of this region and the world. They promote pedagogical innovations to benefit the academic development of all learners, regardless of race, class, gender, age, or special needs.


These graduate programs are designed to prepare educators for the global community. The department’s graduate programs support the university’s main goal, which is to educate citizens for the culturally pluralistic, technological, global society of the 21st century.


The Department of Bilingual Education at Boise State University is relatively young. It wasn’t until 2004 when it became a Department after being part of the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Foundational Studies. As of 2013, our program serves 27 students (3 Latino). Last academic year 27 students graduated (11 Latino).


This program was recognized as an Honorable Mention for making innovative and/or significant improvement in increasing Latino student success.


2008 Examples of Excelencia Honorable Mention

Program Focus

Development of Teachers, Discipline/Subject


Multicultural Student Mentor Program

To help integrate first-year multicultural college students into the college environment, the Office of Minority Affairs established the Multicultural Student Mentor Program (MSMP) in 1988 as a retention strategy to welcome and help incoming students in their transition and adjustment to the university environment. The program focuses on improving multicultural student retention rates by providing mentoring, tutoring, and academic success workshops to students. This program has been helpful for both the students and the institution. The program provides mentors with an excellent leadership experience, mentees with a strong peer connection while increasing the university’s retention rates. Over the last 30 years, the program has become one of the most solid university retention strategies for multicultural students and a best practice of students serving students. The program has also experienced significant growth in the number of mentors from 6 the inaugural year to 60 today. The support, training, and guidance of the mentors has also evolved greatly with the establishment of training retreats and a class dedicated to learning mentoring theory and praxis. Each academic year, over 1200 first-year multicultural students (mentees) participate in this program. The University commitment to the program has also increased over the years.


The primary goal of the MSMP is to assist the growing number of multicultural first-year student with their academic and social transition to college. This program strives to promote and facilitate student interaction and provides opportunities for peer mentors and mentees to connect and form strong academic relationships to foster success in their college experience.


Freshman fall-to-fall retention rates increased from an unsteady range of 63% in the early years of the program to a more stable retention for freshman cohorts. E.g., the average freshman fall-to-fall retention for the last 10 years (2000-09) is 84% for the total student body and 81% for multicultural students. Over the years, the retention for freshmen served and actively engaged in the MSMP is equal or higher. For example, for the AY 09-10, 88% of the freshman active in the program enrolled in the fall 2010, and 83% of the fall 2010 freshman cohort active in the program enrolled in the fall 2011. For the AY 11-12, 79% of the Latino freshman active in the program enrolled in the fall 2012. And, 100% of Latino freshman cohort active in the program completed the fall 2012 semester. In the fall 2012 semester, the MSMP served 1233 mentees. Out of these, 408 were Latino students.

This trend continues today. In the academic year 2015-2016, the multicultural freshman fall-to-fall retention was 76.9%. Furthermore, students who were active in the MSMP had a much higher fall-to-fall retention, 77.1% vs 74% those not active in the program.


2012 Examples of Excelencia Finalist

Program Focus

First Year Support, Mentoring


Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program


The Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program (HMDP) was founded to increase the number of minority, first-generation, and low-income students that enter higher education. Since its inception, it has expanded from a one-year to five-year program that recently began accepting male students and fathers. HMDP has served 2,285 parent-student teams for a total of 4,570 participants. Partnerships with K-12 school districts helps decrease program attrition rates and allows for in-school case management style mentorship by program staff. HMDP serves families from over six high school districts and has specific agreements with two districts. Of program participants, 73% are on free/reduced lunch, 99% identify as Hispanic, and 93% of parent participants have an education level of a high school diploma/GED or less. The program structure incorporates mentoring, parent involvement, and early outreach. The program begins in the eighth grade and aims to increase participant cultural and social capital to promote college readiness and success. Cohorts attend workshops at the Arizona State University  (ASU) Tempe campus in addition to student one-to-one mentoring sessions that focus on college readiness and career exploration.


HMDP is designed to increase the number of first-generation Arizona students qualified and prepared to enter higher education through direct family involvement. The program goals are to: (1) Increase retention in the five-year program, (2) Increase high school graduation rates of Arizona students, (3) Increase the number of Arizona high school students who meet the Arizona Board of Regents university admissions requirements, (4) Increase post-secondary education matriculation rates for first-generation, low-income students who are underrepresented in higher education, and (5) Increase post-secondary education retention rates of first-generation students who are underrepresented in higher education at ASU.


HMDP participants mostly consist of students who attend Mesa Public Schools and the Phoenix Union High School District. As of 2015, the college-going rate for this district averaged 47%, for all Arizona public/charter schools it was 53%.

HMDP high school student data:

HMDP retains 80% of the eighth-grade cohort to their 12th-grade year 100% of HMDPs 12th-grade students graduate high school in four years compared to the overall four-year Arizona high school graduation rate of 78% and 72% for Hispanic students. 85% of HMDP 12th-grade students meet ABOR requirements at the time of graduation versus 47% of high school students and 34% of Hispanic students not in the program. 73% of HMDP graduates attend an institution of higher education directly after graduation. 60% of HMDP graduates will attend a four-year university directly after graduation. Of these students, 45% will enroll at Arizona State University (ASU). Retention of ASU students

76% of incoming freshman will persist to their second year. 56% of ASU HMDP students will graduate in four-years or less, 71% will graduate in six years.


2017 Examples of Excelencia Finalist


Latino College Completion – Oregon

Latino College Completion – Oregon

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Fast Facts

State Ranking

Oregon had the 19th largest Latino population in the U.S.

Latino Population

K-12 Population



State Population



Median Age







Degree Attainment







Equity Gap

in Degree Completion

Graduation Rates







Equity Gap



Completions per 100 FTE







Equity Gap



Completions Relative to the Population in Need







Equity Gap



Download the Fact Sheet PDF



Top 5 Enrolling Institutions

ENROLLING: Top 5 Institutions (Hispanic Undergraduates) in Oregon, 2011-12




Grand Total

Hispanic Total

% Hispanic


Portland Community College

2yr Public





Chemeketa Community College

2yr Public





Portland State University

4yr Public





Oregon State University

4yr Public





University of Oregon

4yr Public





Top 5 Associate Degree Institutions

ASSOCIATE DEGREES: Top 5 Institutions Awarding to Hispanics in Oregon, 2011-12




Grand Total

Hispanic Total

% Hispanic


Portland Community College

2yr Public





Chemeketa Community College

2yr Public





Lane Community College

2yr Public





Treasure Valley Community College

2yr Public





Mt Hood Community College

2yr Public





Top 5 Bachelor Degree Institutions

BACHELOR DEGREES: Top 5 Institutions Awarding to Hispanics in Oregon, 2011-12




Grand Total

Hispanic Total

% Hispanic


Portland State University

4yr Public





Oregon State University

4yr Public





University of Oregon

4yr Public





Western Oregon University

4yr Public





University of Portland

4yr Private Not-For-Profit




Source: Excelencia in Education analysis using Institutional Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2011-2012 enrollment and completions data, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), U.S. Department of Education


Examples of What Works for Latino Students

Here are some institutions showing success in enrolling, retaining, and graduating Latino students:

The Department of Special Education

The Department of Special Education’s (DSE) mission is to diversify the special education teacher population and special education teachers’ responsiveness to Latino student’s language and culture as well as exceptionality. Following the end of a federal grant that funded a Bilingual Special Education program (BiSped), the DSE integrated the components into the Special Education curriculum….

For more information on institutional programs improving Latino student success in higher education, aces Excelencia in Education’s Growing What Works database.



U.S. Census Bureau, 2009-11 American Community Survey.

U.S. Bureau, Population and Housing Unit Estimates, 2012 State and National Population Estimates by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012, PEPSR6H. Released 06/13/13, Retrieved 06/19/13.

U.S. Census Bureau, 2007-11 American Community Survey.



Latino College Completion fact sheet – Oregon





4 Key Considerations for Students Seeking a Hispanic-Serving College 

Asking about a school’s cultural events can help students gauge if a Hispanic-serving institution will meet their needs. By Delece Smith-Barrow , Reporter

Having many faculty members of a similar background can be a plus for Hispanic students, some say. iStock

More and more colleges are seeing a critical mass of Hispanic students. Between 2003 and 2013, the number of schools that had a Hispanic full-time equivalent student enrollment of 25 percent or more grew from 242 to 370, according to  a recent report from Excelencia in Education , a nonprofit advocacy organization. And that number could grow further.

According to the February report, almost 300 schools are close to reaching this enrollment requirement to be designated a Hispanic-serving institution. For many college students , these schools – about half of which are community colleges – are critical for creating a welcoming academic environment.

“These are institutions where they can feel at home because they’re a significant part of the student population,” says John Moder, senior vice president and COO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

These colleges educate almost 60 percent of Latino undergrads, according to the report, and may teach even more in the coming years. Hispanic students are enrolling in college at greater rates than black or white high school graduates, according to the Pew Research Center , but they often need additional support once enrolled.

Latino students are more likely to be the first in their families to go to college, work while in school and need remedial services, says Deborah Santiago, co-founder of Excelencia in Education. Hispanic-serving institutions often have resources that tackle these challenges, such as the opportunity to take classes online or at night, she says.

“They’re an important set of institutions to consider when you’re trying to find ways to serve the Latino population,” Santiago says.

Higher education experts encourage prospective college students to consider several factors if they’re interested in attending a Hispanic-serving institution.

Financial aid: Most Hispanic-serving colleges are public schools and don’t tend to have an endowment, says Santiago. Much of a student’s financial aid may come from the federal or state government rather than the school, she says.

“Those aren’t bad things but as a student you want to know that,” she says. Faculty: For Hispanic students, one benefit of going to this type of school is the support from professors and administrators who often come from a similar background.

“You bond with them,” says Edwin Ramirez, a student at the University of Texas—El Paso , who says many of his professors are Hispanic. The teachers, he says, are working to not only improve the learning environment but to also uplift the community. “It motivates me to accomplish more.”

Hispanic faculty are certainly a draw at Sul Ross State University in Texas, says Quint Thurman, the school’s interim president. Two of the school’s five deans at the Alpine campus are Hispanic, he says.

Language: At some Hispanic-serving schools, it’s common to hear Spanish spoken on campus between students or with professors. Institutions that embrace this language are a plus, some say.

“I think it’s important to have faculty and staff that are willing to try if they don’t speak it fluently,” says Thurman, who describes his school as bilingual. “It creates a climate of being receptive. Being receptive to diversity.”

Cultural programs: Prospective students can ask about specific school groups and events to find out how much the Hispanic-serving institution they’re considering embraces Latino culture.

“Ask if they have a mariachi band,” says Thurman. “If they have a mariachi band, that’s a good indicator.” Sul Ross State has one, he says. At University of Texas—El Paso, a mariachi band performs for celebrations such as Mexico’s Independence Day, says Ramirez.

Potential students should also ask if Hispanic students are officers in student clubs and how the school’s city or town embraces Hispanic heritage – actions that can mirror the school’s investment in that student population. In Alpine, Texas, where Sul Ross State is located, students marched in a recent parade held by the city to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Thurman says.

On top of inquiring about programs, experts also encourage students to ask about research opportunities, class size and other factors that differentiate one college from the next. Hispanic-serving institutions can be great for some, but not all, experts say. Students should make sure that whether a school is a Hispanic-serving institution or not, it matches the student’s needs.

“Each student needs to find the college or university that’s a good fit for him or her,” says Moder, of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. “You want to find a school where you can get the best education that works for you.”


Graduate Education Programs Lead in Attracting Latinos

By Delece Smith-Barrow , Reporter Feb. 12, 2015, at 9:00 a.m.

The Obama administration has encouraged minorities to become teachers, which could be one reason experts say Hispanics in graduate school are studying education.

Not all college students will go to graduate school , but the percentage of Hispanics who get a master’s degree is especially low.

Only 7 percent of all master’s degrees earned in 2012 were awarded to Latinos, according to a recent report from Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit organization that studies how Latinos perform and advance in school.

Although the percentage lags behind that of other groups, this 7 percent also represents significant growth among Hispanics. “From 2003 – 2012, the number of master’s degrees earned by Latinos increased 103%, compared to African Americans (89%), Asians (65%), and Whites (36%),” the report states.

These students could be studying any number of subjects – such as psychology or statistics – but one discipline is especially popular: More Hispanic students receive a master’s in education than any other graduate degree, the report states.

Education experts have a few theories on why Hispanic graduate students choose this field, and encourage prospective students who are Latino to carefully research schools they are considering for this degree.

The federal government could be one reason for this increase, says Deborah Santiago, a co-author of the report. President Barack Obama’s administration has pushed for people of color to join the teaching profession , she says.

The population of Latino students in kindergarten through 12th grade could also be influencing how many Latinos earn a master’s in education.

Less than 10 percent of teachers who serve students in these grades are Hispanic, says Santiago, who’s also the COO and vice president of policy at Excelencia in Education. The students they teach are more diverse though, and graduate schools are trying to close the gap.

“Schools of education are trying to be a little bit more assertive in recruiting them to come in,” she says.

The university of Southern California ranks No. 5 among institutions that award the most master’s degrees to Latinos, according to the report, and the school has made it a priority to support Latinos studying education.

“We have a critical mass of Latino students in the MA and EdD programs, so in every class, there are at least five Latinos/as and probably even more. We have a critical mass of Latino faculty members who like myself do research on issues of equity and as such serve as models and mentors,” Estela Mara Bensimon, co-director of the Center for Urban Education at University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education , wrote in an email.

Latinos may feel more comfortable in education, says Bensimon, who is also a professor of higher education.

Minorities and women have gravitated to disciplines, like education, that is more liberal and are more welcoming as a result. Those who are first-generation, Bensimon wrote,  “often want to pursue careers that add value to the community and education is certainly one of the most direct ways of enabling Latinos/as to move up the economic ladder.”

Stronger  Latino representation in the profession might be encouraging potential teachers to enter the field.

“These role models that are currently doing it are kind of pulling people through the pipeline and perhaps giving others hope that this might be a viable academic and maybe career option,” says Louie F. Rodriguez, an associate professor of educational leadership and co-director of the doctorate in educational leadership at  California State University—San Bernardino .

Prospective students should start with finding out about the faculty, says Liliana Garces, an assistant professor of higher education and a research associate at the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the College of Education at Pennsylvania State University .

Faculty can influence what classes students are able to take and the work a student produces while in graduate school, she says. Diversity within a faculty can also trickle down to diversity among the student body.

“It’s helpful to see yourself kind of reflected in some way,” Garces says.

Applicants should also try to find out, “Where have the graduates of that institution gone on to work?” Garces says.

During a campus visit, prospective students should try to connect with people who can possibly relate to them, Rodriguez says. If he were a prospective student, he says, he would ask master’s and doctoral students how they feel.

In between researching what kind of teachers and students are already at the school an applicant is considering, Rodriguez says it’s important for prospective students to also inquire about how their education could be subsidized.

There are fewer funding opportunities at the master’s level than there are at the undergraduate or doctoral level, experts say. How much a school is willing to contribute to a student’s education may speak to how invested the school is in that student, Rodriguez says.

Figuring out how to finance education can be especially important for Latino students, he says.

“A lot of Latinos may be first-generation college students. And if they’re first-generation college students they’re going to be first-generation graduate students,” says Rodriguez. “They’re really paving the way for themselves, their families and their community. And they may not have these resources.”


New Program Aims to Boost Number of Latino Faculty

Eight schools have come together to develop more Latino faculty in the humanities. By Delece Smith-Barrow , Reporter

Less than 5 percent of faculty at colleges and universities are Latino, says one expert. (HeroImagesCLOSED/Getty Images)

When Francisco Ramos was an undergraduate student at University of Michigan—Ann Arbor , he knew he wanted to get a doctorate. Ramos, a Latino man, also knew that few people from his race achieved that level of academic success.

“I knew of only one,” he says.

With the help of mentors, he was admitted into a doctoral program at Indiana University—Bloomington to pursue education policy studies but was unsure about what the environment would be like.

“The biggest concern I had was more about culture,” the 31-year-old says. “Do people sort of understand where I’m coming from or what I’m talking about or what are my interests?”

The Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education is launching a new program – Pathways to the Professoriate – to help people similar to Ramos get into Ph.D. programs and thrive.

With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a five-year grant, the center will work with five research universities and three Hispanic-serving colleges to boost the number of Latinos who get a Ph.D. and become faculty in the humanities departments at colleges and universities. Sociology, musicology, and religion are some of the subjects under the humanities.

Participating universities in the program include the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University and Florida International University .

Each Hispanic-serving school will select 10 undergrads to participate in the program and their mentors. As members of Pathways to the Professoriate, students will also receive help preparing for the GRE and writing personal statements, as well as stipends and other social and academic support, says Marybeth Gasman, a professor at University of Pennsylvania and director of the Center for Minority Serving Institutions.

Over the course of the grant, 90 students will go through the program. The first cohort of students will be selected next fall.

There’s value in developing the next generation of academics who focus on the humanities, experts say.

“You’re seeing a lot of emphasis on STEM, but you don’t see as much emphasis on the humanities. And the thing about the humanities is that they’re what teaches us to think critically. They’re what pushes us to see the humanity in the world,” says Gasman.

The best students for the program are those who have an in interest in teaching and research, are committed to working in the humanities and want to work as faculty members at a college or university, Gasman says.

The students must also be hard workers.

“We want students who are going to commit to doing whatever it takes to getting into graduate school and commit to that mentoring relationship,” she says.

Experts on Latinos in higher education say programs such as Pathways to the Professoriate are important for continuing the pipeline of Hispanic students who matriculate to graduate school.

“Less than 5 percent of faculty today are Latino. And that’s a critical issue,” says Deborah Santiago, the COO and vice president for policy for Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit organization that researches how Latinos perform in higher education.

Among Latino college-goers, 40 percent are the first in their family to attend,  she says. “They don’t see a lot of Latino faculty and don’t have them as professors when they go to college. So they don’t see it as a viable option. They don’t have role models to show them it’s possible.”

For Latino students who want to make sure they get their Ph.D. from a school that supports minorities, it’s important to do some research, experts say.

Applicants should make sure that institutions they’re considering provide “some minimal level of social, cultural support with mentors and a network that will help you,” says Antonio Flores, president, and CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

Ramos, who now has his Ph.D. and works as the manager of program assessment and evaluation for the graduate school at Duke University , says prospective students must be vocal about their concerns.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions,” he says. “Is there enough funding? Do they have people I can identify with that are already there, like tenured faculty members for example?”

If there isn’t a ready-made community for students to socialize, Ramos says students can create their own by reaching out to student groups and faculty members, even if they aren’t in your department or program.

“You have to carve it out for yourself,” he says.

Latino undergrads who get a doctorate and decide to teach may find the experience to be rewarding on a personal level. Lorenzo Candelaria, a professor of musicology and an associate provost at University of Texas—El Paso , says his experience teaching Hispanic undergrads while working at University of Texas—Austin left an impression on them.

“They were first-generation college students, and one of the things I learned from that experience is that understanding and knowing that their professor – that I was also Hispanic, that I was also a first-generation college student – that made them feel very welcomed,” he says. University of Texas—El Paso is also participating in Pathways to the Professoriate.

The UT—Austin students felt good knowing someone can come from a modest background and “be a first-generation student and achieve their dreams, whatever they may be,” he says.


Identifying Best Practices to Increase Latino Student Enrollment and Retention at NonHispanic Serving Institutions


The 50 Best Colleges for Hispanic Students in 2016

In 2012, 49% of Hispanic high school graduates enrolled at a postsecondary, public institution. This percentage surpassed that of white students for the first time, and Hispanic enrollment in colleges and universities, which has increased 240% since 1996 , is expected to continue to grow. Many Hispanic students are the first in their families to attend college, so it is important for them to find a support system that will help them navigate degrees, financial aid and their school and social obligations.

To make the transition from high school to college, many students may be looking for “Hispanic friendly” schools. These are schools with a high concentration of Hispanic students already in attendance, or they have a cultural center that focuses on Latino/a, Chicano/a or Hispanic heritages.

Students may also look for a school that will protect their rights and ensure they receive the same quality education as non-Hispanic students. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) is an organization that strives to protect the educational rights of Hispanic students. It was instrumental in increasing funding from Title V of the Higher Education Act for Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). For the 2014 academic year, HACU convinced Congress to give $98 million to HSI undergraduate programs.

To create our rankings, we relied upon our normal methodology to find schools that rank well for academics. Our team then compared that list to the 270 HACU member schools in the U.S. to find the best schools for Hispanic, Latino/a and Chicano/a students. We included the percentage of Hispanic students currently enrolled at each college, along with in- and out-of-state tuitions to add more weight to our rankings. Each school on our list boasts a cultural center, degree programs or scholarships dedicated to enhancing the experiences of Hispanic students.

Accredited Colleges See Methodology 1 University of California – Santa Cruz   Santa Cruz, CA This public research university , located alongside the redwood forests and just under 10 miles from the coast, offers 60 majors in 30 fields. Because of the network of UC campuses, students have a wealth of opportunities that extend beyond UC Santa Cruz. For Hispanic students, the Chicano Latino Resource Center, more commonly known as El Centro , offers a number of programs and resources to support and bolster the on-campus Hispanic community, including academic support, scholarships and financial guidance and social events geared towards unification and integration.

Tweet this Share this School Profile 2 San Diego State University   San Diego, CA San Diego State University , one of the oldest universities in CA, is known for its highly active research, particularly in engineering and bio-science, as well as its affordability. With tuition well below the national average and high post-grad employment rates, SDSU has been ranked as a best-value school by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list. The university was also rated as No. 11 in the nation and No. 4 in California for the highest number of degrees awarded to Hispanics by the Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education publication. Additionally, San Diego State features a Chicano and Chicana Studies department, through which a variety of degrees concerning culture, history and contemporary issues of the Hispanic community are offered.

Tweet this Share this School Profile 3 University of California – Riverside   Riverside, CA Located inland at the base of Box Springs Mountain, the campus of University of California Riverside was formerly the UC Citrus Experiment Station, and much of this agricultural legacy is still present. However, with over 100 undergraduate degrees, as well as 52 master’s and 42 Ph.D. programs, UCR has something for everyone. It is considered a high-diversity college by U.S. News & World Report . The university’s many programs include academic clubs, scholarship programs and social groups for the Chicano and Latino communities, which make up the largest minority group on campus.

Tweet this Share this School Profile 4 Whittier College   Whittier, CA Whittier College , a private, secular institution, offers a small-campus experience with alternative learning modes. Along with a variety of preset degree programs, students may choose to design their own course of study with guidance from faculty. Overseas travel is also encouraged, and many students use the month-long January interim to take courses abroad. The Ortiz Program is designed specifically for first generation Chicano/a and Latino/a students who need extra guidance. Students looking to engage in Hispanic cultural and social events can join Movimiento Esudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan, or find additional programs and support through Whittier’s Cultural Center .

Tweet this Share this School Profile 5 St. Edward’s University   Austin, TX Although Catholic-affiliated, the Texas based private university encourages students of all beliefs and backgrounds to attend, and its many multi-faith groups and clubs supports this stance. The school is deeply diverse, with students from over 50 countries, and offers a variety of programs to match their needs, including those specific to the Hispanic community. In 2013, Saint Edward’s was recognized by the U.S. Chronicle of Higher Education for having the highest graduation rate for a Hispanic-serving university. It also received accolades from the New York Times concerning its College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), which is designed to academically and financially support college attendees from migrant worker families.

Tweet this Share this School Profile 6 Cal Poly – Pomona 7 University of La Verne 8 University of Houston 9 Florida International University 10 California State University – Long Beach 11 University of California – Merced 12 University of St. Thomas 13 Woodbury University 14 California State University – Fullerton 15 St. Mary’s University 16 University of New Mexico 17 Texas State University 18 Fresno Pacific University 19 California State University – Channel Islands 20 California State University – San Marcos 21 CUNY City College 22 Mount St. Mary’s College 23 California State University – Fresno 24 Texas Lutheran University 25 California State University – Stanislaus 26 La Sierra University 27 California State University – Monterey Bay 28 New Mexico State University 29 College of Mount Saint Vincent 30 California State University – Northridge 31 California State University – San Bernardino 32 Schreiner University 33 CUNY Lehman College 34 Saint Peter’s University 35 University of Texas – Pan American 36 University Of Texas – San Antonio 37 Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi 38 California State University – Bakersfield 39 California State University – Los Angeles 40 University of Texas at El Paso 41 Texas A&M International University 42 Eastern New Mexico University 43 St. Thomas University-Florida 44 Angelo State University 45 California State University – Dominguez Hills 46 Adams State University 47 Texas A&M University – Kingsville 48 University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio 49 Boricua College 50 Our Lady of the Lake University


Hispanics & Higher Education: An Overview of Research, Theory, and Practice


Scholarships for Hispanic Students

Scholarships for Hispanic Students

Many universities are interested improving the diversity of their intake, and are keen to offer support for students from minority groups. Particularly in the US, this means a wide number of scholarships for Hispanic students are available. The list below is just a selection of current Hispanic scholarships on offer – don’t just limit yourself to these opportunities, as you are likely to be eligible for other schemes as well.


If you’re based in a Latin American country, you may also be interested in one of our upcoming QS World Grad School Tour events in the region – a chance to meet universities from around the world and apply for exclusive scholarships.

Scholarships for Hispanic students in the US (general): Hispanic Scholarship Fund – describes itself as the “number one resource for Hispanic and Latino scholarship programs”. There are Hispanic scholarships available for high school seniors, undergraduates, graduate students and community college transfer students. To qualify, you must be classed as a US citizen, permanent legal resident, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) or eligible non-citizen (as defined by Federal Student Aid). St. Lawrence University Presidential Diversity Scholarship – various scholarships for minority students, including those of African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic American or Native American heritage. Applicants must demonstrate leadership and service to the community. Hispanic Business Association Richard G. Cortez Scholarship – a non-profit organization committed to the enhancement of educational opportunities for Hispanic students in Oregon and Idaho. The scheme offers annual scholarships for Hispanics who have good academic achievement. College Board, National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) – program for students who qualify based on outstanding scores on the PSAT/NMSQT in their junior year of high school and self-identify as at least one-quarter Hispanic. Connecticut Association of Latino/as in Higher Education (CALAHE ) – dedicated to promoting educational access for Latino students at higher education institutions in Connecticut. Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) – provides critical financial assistance in associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees and postgraduate degrees with the aim of increasing graduation rates among Hispanic students. Applicants must demonstrate financial need. Esperanza Scholarships – Hispanic scholarships are available for residents of Cuyahoga and/or Lorain Counties in Ohio. Students must be graduating high school or be enrolled full-time in college/university, with a family income not exceeding US$60,000 per year. La Plaza Scholarship Fund – up to six four-year college scholarships worth$2,000 are awarded each year to Latino students from across Indiana. Students are selected based on their academic record, community participation and financial need. Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards – an annual grant worth US$1,000-3,000, awarded to Hispanic students who demonstrate leadership in the classroom and community. Scholarships for Hispanic students in the US (subject-specific): Alois Bulawa Scholarship at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee – Lubar School of Business – scholarships for Hispanics are available for those studying business full-time, who demonstrate both financial need and strong academic achievement. MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) Law School Scholarship Program – open to Latino students enrolled full-time at an accredited US law school. Candidates are evaluated based on academic and extracurricular achievements, background and financial need, and must demonstrate commitment to progressing Latino civil rights. Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) – an organization dedicated to enhancing opportunities for Latinos in accounting, finance and related vocations. Scholarships are available for Hispanic members wishing to study in one of these fields. The Actuarial Foundation Actuarial Diversity Scholarship – this scholarship promotes diversity in the actuary profession, with awards from US$1,000-4,000 depending on academic level. Applicants must have at least one birth parent who is a member of one of the following minority groups: Black/African American, Hispanic, Native North American, Pacific Islander. Leo and Trinidad Sanchez Scholarship – up to US$4,500 is available for a Hispanic student who is a current resident of Santa Clara County or Santa Cruz County, studying architecture as a current undergraduate or a graduating high school senior. American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Foundation, Rixio Medina & Associates Hispanics in Safety Scholarship – One award of US$4,000 is available for a Hispanic student pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in occupational safety and health or a closely related field. Applicants must be bilingual in Spanish and English. National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) – Hispanic scholarships are available for US citizens who are studying full-time to become a nurse and who have NAHN membership. NAHN also provides a list of additional scholarships for Hispanics in nursing. National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) – NAHJ provides scholarships for Hispanics studying full-time at undergraduate or graduate level and aspiring towards a journalism career in English or Spanish-language media (or both). Awards range from US$1,000 to $5,000, and are open to students in the US and Puerto Rico. If you’re seeking funding for an MBA program, visit our sister site to find MBA Scholarship Programs for Hispanic and Latino Americans .

Scholarships for Hispanic women: 100 Hispanic Women Young Latinas Leadership Institute Scholarships  – scholarships for Hispanic women to pursue undergraduate study in leadership and related programs. AAUW International Fellowships  – AAUW provides US scholarships for international graduate women, with a particular emphasis on scholarships for Hispanic women. Click here to find more scholarships for Hispanic women and other women in minority groups.


Top 25 Colleges for Latinos

Our listing of the Top 25 Colleges for Latinos is presented alphabetically. Compiled by the editors of LATINO Magazine from a variety of sources, this is by no means a definitive list, and none of these may be the right college for an individual student. We’ve included a brief description of each. For reasons of space, we’ve focused on four year colleges with just a few community colleges, which are a valid option for many. But we hope it provides a starting point. From Arizona State  to the University of Texas, each entry includes the institution’s address, telephone number and website. For more information, go online. Contact them to order an application, or to schedule a visit, or ask any questions. Parents, engage your high school-age children in a discussion about the importance of a college education. Students, involve your parents as you search for the right college. This listing is included in College for Latinos, a bilingual guide to college success for students and parents published from LATINO Magazine and the GM Foundation. To order a copy for home or the classroom, please contact us at ¡Gracias!

1. Arizona State University

411 North Central Ave.

Phoenix, AZ 85004

(480) 965-7788

Founded in 1885 and located in Phoenix, Arizona State University is the largest in the country.  Students can pursue a degree in a variety of programs that are ranked among the best in the nation ranging from engineering to public affairs programs.  The university also boasts 324 National Hispanic Scholars, one of the most in the country.

2. Austin Community College

1212 Rio Grande St.

Austin, TX 78701

(512) 223-3000

A nationally recognized two-year college serving Central Texas, Austin Community College currently enrolls more than 43,000 credit students and serves an additional 15,000 students each year through noncredit programs. Hispanics make up 29.1 percent of the student population. Its “open door” policy ensures admission to all who met eligibility criteria.

3. Brown University

69 Brown Street

Providence, RI 02912

(401) 863-1000

When considering Ivy League schools some families may overlook Brown University. Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. A leading  research university, undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in more than 75 concentrations, ranging from Egyptology to cognitive neuroscience.

4. Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CA 93407


California Polytechnic State University, also known as Cal Poly is a public university located in San Luis Obispo, CA. Founded in 1901 as a vocational high school, it is currently one of only two polytechnic universities in the 23-member California State University system. Cal Poly is known for its “learn by doing” educational philosophy that encourages students to solve real-world problems by combining classroom theory with experiential laboratory exercise.

5. Emory University

201 Dowman Drive

 Atlanta, GA 30322

(404) 727-6123

Recognized as an outstanding liberal arts college, Emory calls Atlanta home. The university is consistently identified as a best value among private universities and colleges—those institutions that are both academically strong and affordable and committed to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for all accepted domestic students.

6. Florida International University

11200 S.W. 8th Street

Miami, FL 33199


Miami’s first and only public research university, FIU is one of the largest in the country with an enrollment of more than 47,000 students, of which 67 percent are Latino undergraduates. Students can choose from a variety of over 180 programs that offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering, international relations and law.  The mission of the university includes research as a major component.

7. George Mason University

400 University Drive

Fairfax, Virginia 22030

(703) 993-1000

Named after one of the founding fathers, George Mason University sits just south of the nation’s capital near Fairfax, Virginia. An independent institution, GMU has received recognition for its strong programs in economics, law, creative writing and computer science. According to GMU president Ángel Cabrera, “We care about inclusion because of our commitment to individual rights and liberties, which is embedded in our history and our culture.”

8. Georgetown University

37th and O Streets, N.W.

Washington D.C. 20057

(202) 687-0100

Founded in 1789 in Washington, D.C., Georgetown is the oldest Catholic university in the country, with a campus that reflects its history. A leading academic and research institution, the university’s international affairs and law programs are considered among the best in the nation and world.  The university strives to provide a world-class learning experience and over half of its undergraduate students spend time studying abroad.

9. Harvard University

86 Brattle Street

Cambridge, MA 02138

(617) 495-1000

Mention the Ivy League and thoughts immediately turn to Harvard University. Founded in 1636, it is the oldest institution of higher learning in the nation.  Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard offers a range of undergraduate, graduate and professional programs for students to choose from.  With over 20,000 students, Harvard is also one of the most selective and competitive universities in the world.

10. Miami Dade College

300 N.E. 2nd Avenue

Miami, FL 33132


With seven campuses, two centers and more than 165,000 students from across the world, Miami Dade College is the largest and most diverse college in the nation. It offers over 300 programs of study and several degree options, including vocational, associate, and baccalaureate degrees. It annually awards more associate degrees than any other community college in the United States including the most associate degrees to Hispanics.

11. Michigan State University

250 Hannah Administration Building

East Lansing, MI 48824

(517) 355-8332

The nation’s pioneer land-grant university, MSU is one of the top research universities in the world with a culture that encourages all people to contribute their special talents and reach their full potential. MSU brings together an exceptional faculty, a vast array of world-class facilities and resources, and more than 200 programs of undergraduate, graduate, and pre-professional study.

12. Purdue University

475 Stadium Mall Dr.

 West Lafayette, IN 47907

(765) 494-1776

Purdue University is located in West Lafayette, Indiana and is the flagship university of the Purdue University system.  It was founded in 1869 and has become renowned for its influence in American aviation.  It offered the first four-year bachelor’s degree in aviation and 22 Purdue graduates have gone on to become astronauts, including Neil Armstrong (the first person to walk on the moon).  The university offers over 210 major areas of study at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

13. Rutgers University

83 Somerset Street

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

(732) 445-4636

Latinos make up twelve percent of the student population at Rutgers, one of the leading national public research universities in the nation. Based in Newark, the university is a land-grant institution with over 40,000 students and ranks eleventh in the number of degrees earned by Latinos (among peer institutions in the Association of American Universities).

14. San Jose City College

2100 Moorpark Ave.

San Jose, CA 95192

(408) 298-2181

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose City College (SHCC) is known around the world as the center for innovation in technology and research. From its modest beginnings in 1921, San Jose City College has grown into a world-class institution enrolling about 20,000 students each year and offering associates degrees in multiple disciplines within the arts and sciences.

15. St. Mary’s University

One Camino Santa Maria

San Antonio, TX 78228

(210) 436-3011

Founded in 1852 and based in San Antonio, St. Mary’s University is a Catholic university.  It is also the oldest of its kind in Texas and the Southwest, and provides a Catholic educational experience that incorporates liberal studies, professional preparation and ethical commitment.

16. Stanford University

450 Serra Mall

Stanford, CA 94305

(650) 723-2300

Considered the Ivy League school of the west, Stanford University opened its doors in 1891. Located just south of San Francisco, the university is recognized as one of the world’s leading research and teaching institutions and many graduates find employment with prominent technology companies like Google, Microsoft and Cisco. Close interaction with faculty is emphasized at Stanford and the student-to-faculty ratio is approximately 5.9 to one.

17. Universidad de Puerto Rico

170 Carr. #174, Km.2.8, Parque Industrial Minillas

Bayamón, P.R. 00959

(787) 786-2885

With a student population that is 99 percent Latino, the Universidad de Puerto Rico is the largest and oldest university in Puerto Rico. Founded in 1903, the UPR is the most selective university in Puerto Rico, offering over 500 diverse academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Over 60,000 students take courses at eleven campuses around the island.

18. University of California-Berkeley

108 MLK Student Union

 Berkeley, CA 94720

(510) 642-1016

A major research institution, the University of California-Berkeley was founded in 1868 following the gold rush on the San Francisco Bay. Considered the world’s premier public university, UC Berkeley researchers have discovered 16 chemicals (more than any other university in the world), Vitamin E, and were the first to identify the flu virus. The university offers over 350 academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

19. University of California-Los Angeles

1147 Murphy Hall, Box 951436

Los Angeles, CA 90095

(310) 825-3101

Founded in 1919, The University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) receives the most freshman applications than any other school in the country. The second oldest, and a flagship institution within the University of California system, it is ranked as one of the best research universities in the world.  Nearly 40,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in a range of 127 majors and dozens of academic programs.

20. University of California-Davis

1 Shields Ave.

Davis, CA 95616

(530) 752-1011

The University of California-Davis celebrated a centennial in 2006. What began as an agricultural school has grown into public university known for its doctoral research and located just west of Sacramento. It is the largest campus within the University of California system and the third largest enrollment.

21. University of Miami

1252 Memorial Drive

Coral Gables, FL 33146

(305) 284-2211

Located in Coral Gables, the University of Miami was founded in 1925 during the real estate boom that hit the region. A private research institution with over 15,000 students enrolled, it offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in 12 schools and colleges in more than 180 majors and programs.  In 2012, Latino students made up 28 percent of the student population.

22. University of New Mexico-Albuquerque

Student Support & Service Center

1155 University Blvd, SE

Albuquerque, NM 87131

(505) 277-8900

The University of New Mexico is a Hispanic-serving Institution located in Albuquerque, New Mexico with Latino students comprising 40 percent of the student population. It was founded in 1889 and is the state’s flagship research institution.  The university‘s law school is among the highest ranked for Latinos.  There are more than 210 degrees and programs for students to choose from at UNM.

23. University of Texas at San Antonio

1 UTSA Cir.

San Antonio, TX 78249

(210) 458-4011

An emerging Tier One research institution specializing in health, energy, security, sustainability, and human and social development, The University of Texas at San Antonio was a welcome addition to the UT System. Founded in 1969, the university enrollment has grown to 29,000 and offers 147 degree programs.

24. University of Texas at El Paso

500 West University Avenue

El Paso, TX 79902

(915) 747-5000

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) celebrates its centennial in 2014. Since opening its doors as the State School of Mines and Metallurgy, UTEP has grown from 27 mining students to more than 23,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students. It also boasts a healthy Latino student population of 80 percent.

25. University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley

1201 West University Drive

Edinburg, TX 78539

(956) 665-8872

With almost 20,000 students, the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) graduates one of the highest numbers of Latino students in the country every year.  A product of the merger between the University of Texas-Pan American and the University of Texas at Brownsville, UTRGV offers a high quality and affordable education at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the region. UTRGV is a Hispanic Serving Institution.


Strategies for Recruiting & Retaining Latino Students


Top 10 U.S. Universities And Colleges Preferred By Hispanics

Each year the number of young Hispanics enrolling in colleges or universities to achieve a degree is increasing; some colleges are definitely favored more than others by Latinos.

A study on young adults ages 18 to 24, released in 2013 by the Pew Research Center, shows that Hispanic college enrollment rates surpass that of whites.

The amount of young Hispanics enrolled in college increased by 324,000 students between 2011 and 2012, according to the report.

Higher education enrollments by Hispanics have incremented since 2009.

So, what colleges are these driven and aspiring Hispanics enrolling in?

We found the top 33 colleges and universities in the U.S., posted by Online College Database, an organization that collects their data strictly from the most trusted government and commercial entities on the web.

Universities and colleges with most Hispanic enrollment

At the top of the list is Laredo Community College, located in Laredo, TX. The college has a total enrollment of about 13,800 students, and 95 percent are Hispanic.

Following are Imperial Valley College in Imperial, Calif., Texas A & M International University in Laredo, TX and South Texas College in McAllen, TX; all have 94 percent Hispanics enrolled.

With 91 percent of Hispanic students enrolled are two universities in Texas: The University of Texas at Brownsville and The University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg.

Although the majority of Hispanics enrolled at a higher education institution are in Texas, other states like New Mexico, New York and Florida are among the list.

Florida schools, Miami-Dade College and Florida International University, are also preferred among Hispanic students. Sixty-nine percent attend MDC and 63 percent attend FIU.

Schools in California, New Mexico, New York and even Texas count with less than 50 percent of Hispanics enrolled at a college or university.

For instance, the New Mexico State University – Main Campus has 44 percent of the total population attending their school is Hispanic.

At the end of the list is CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice located in New York, NY, with a total enrollment of nearly 18,000 students, 33 percent that are Hispanic.

Here are the first top 10 higher education schools that attract the largest percentage of Hispanic students, according the Online College Database.

1. Laredo Community College

Location: Laredo, TX.

Hispanics enrolled: 95 percent

Total enrollment: about 14,000 students

2. Imperial Valley College

Location: Imperial, Calif.

Hispanics enrolled: 94 percent

Total enrollment: over 11,000 students

3. Texas A & M International University

Location: Laredo, TX.

Hispanics enrolled: 94 percent

Total enrollment: over 8,000 students

4. South Texas College

Location: McAllen, TX.

Hispanics enrolled: 94 percent

Total enrollment: about 37,000 students

5. The University of Texas at Brownsville

Location: Brownsville, TX.

Hispanics enrolled: 91 percent

Total enrollment: about 19,000 students

6. The University of Texas-Pan American

Location: Edinburg, TX.

Hispanics enrolled: 91 percent

Total enrollment: over 23,000 students

7. El Paso Community College

Location: El Paso, TX.

Hispanics enrolled: 87 percent

Total enrollment: about 42,000 students

8. The University of Texas at El Paso

Location: El Paso, TX.

Hispanics enrolled: 78 percent

Total enrollment: over 26,000 students

9. East Los Angeles College

Location: Monterey Park, Calif.

Hispanics enrolled: 70 percent

Total enrollment: about 55,000 students

10. Miami Dade College

Location: Miami, Fla.

Hispanics enrolled: 69 percent

Total enrollment: over 99,000 students

Originally published on VOXXI as Top US universities and colleges attended by Hispanics


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