By Roberto Vicevich
A national study recently found that the college dropout for Latino students might be as high as the high school dropout rate.
According to the study, young Hispanic high school graduates are as likely as Caucasian high school graduates to attend college. However, young Hispanic undergraduates are half as likely as white undergraduates to complete a bachelor”s degree.
The study released by the University of Southern California-affiliated Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C, found two factors that prevent Latino undergraduates from completing their degrees. First, many Latin undergraduates enroll on campuses that already have low bachelor”s degree completion rates, and second, Latinos have different experiences than white students when they enroll on the same campuses.
Barbara Beck, senior research associate at the Pew Hispanic Center, said the authorities have taken no actions yet.
“It”s time for the government to evaluate the situation and to take actions to reverse the problem,” said Beck.
Santiago Lucero, a senior from San Luis, Argentina, majoring in broadcast journalism, said he thinks being from a different culture may cause students frustration while attending college.
“I think that when you come to the United States, you have to deal with the language and with the cultural shock,” said Lucero
He said he thinks the reason Latinos drop out of college is also related to the their low monthly income and the cost of getting an education.
Failing to earn a degree may have serious consequences. The wage gap has greatly widened between those with a degree and those with some college education but no degree.
“Sometimes Hispanic students are not well prepared as other students,” said Enoc Flores, director of international services at BYU. “Not being prepared as other students may cause frustration, and some students discontinue with their education.”
Flores said some Latinos attending high school are not really interested in learning, which is why they are not ready to compete with other students at a college level.
According to a report by Richard Fry, senior research associate at the Pew Hispanic Center, the gap between white and Hispanic bachelor”s degree completion may be improved if well-prepared Latino youth attended the same kinds of colleges as well-prepared white students.
The report found that choosing a college is extremely important because college selectivity and college completion go hand-in-hand. Students who attend the college they chose are more likely to finish than those who have no say in the matter.
The report also found several factors in determining Latinos” pathway through post-secondary education. Some characteristics that differ between Latinos and white students included delayed enrollment in college, greater financial responsibility for family members and living with family rather than in campus housing while attending college.