Guest post: We need 14 million more Hispanic degrees
Here is a guest post by Frank Alvarez, president and CEO of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund:
As Hispanic Americans watch the batches of data flow out from the U.S. Census Bureau we have both a sense of pride and anxiety. Pride in our contributions to American society and anxiety about the corresponding challenges we face, especially in the area of higher education.
The 2010 census is showing that Hispanics are playing an increasingly important role in communities all over the U.S. The Hispanic population in Arkansas increased by 114 percent in the last 10 years and now stands at 186,050. In Mississippi, our numbers since 2000 have increased 106 percent to 81,481.
Our historically large population in Texas is now at 9 million, or 38 percent of the state's entire population. Hispanics comprise 48 percent of Texans under the age of 18 and they all hope to play an important role in America's future in some way or another.
The path to a successful future has often included a college education. The reality is the U.S. Latino degree attainment rate stands at 19 percent -- much lower than it should be. Our goal is to move this to 60 percent by 2025 in order to meet the college attainment goals set forth for all Americans by President Obama and supporters like Lumina Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. That means 14 million more Hispanic two- and four-year degree holders in the next 14 years.
Together with our partners, we aim to create the movement that can help meet this goal. We know Hispanic culture revolves around the family and we know the decisions made by an older brother or sister have an impact on the younger ones. If we can influence, urge and aid that older sibling to go on the college path, he or she will be a springboard to help the younger ones take the same journey.
We're calling this idea Generation 1st Degree because it's focused on getting Latinos and Latinas to earn the family's first college degree.
Here is some research we conducted about the difference this effort can make:
· An increase in Latinos with college degrees to 60 percent will lead to a significant increase in Latino lifetime earnings--from the current $24 trillion to $47 trillion (in today's dollars) by 2025.
· These increased earnings will result in an estimated $2.2 trillion increase in federal tax revenue that will help all Americans
We know our Generation 1st Degree idea can work because we already see it in action every day.
Let me share with you the story of Lisa Pino. She comes from an immigrant family that had limited means. Paying for college and law school was a continual struggle and she often had to sell clothes and furniture just to make ends meet during her studies. Sometimes she skipped meals.
We helped Lisa with financial aid -- sometimes as little as $1,000 a year -- but it made a difference. Lisa graduated and advanced in her career. She now serves as the Deputy Administrator of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Food and Nutrition Service for U.S. Department of Agriculture in D.C.
Even more importantly, Lisa is giving back by mentoring Hispanic students and working on civil rights priorities as well as addressing obesity in the Hispanic community. For instance, she created a national roundtable tour that dealt with nutrition access among communities of color.
Lisa is the type of person behind these Census numbers. There are millions more like her. The choice is ours as to how to meet the challenge as a country and as individuals.
Follow College Inc. on Twitter.
Daniel de Vise
| February 23, 2011; 3:34 PM ET
Categories: Access, Aid, Attainment, Public policy, Students | Tags: aid, American Graduation Initiative, attainment, college completion, Frank Alvarez, Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Save & Share: Previous: Fixing higher ed: Trinity's Patricia McGuire
Next: Guest post: Student engagement is the key 'fix'
Posted by: deemontgomery1 | February 24, 2011 11:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: kguardado | February 28, 2011 6:02 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.