Daily 49er

Graduation and retention rates among Latino students in California examined

The CSULB Graduation and Retention Rate report found that 43 percent of Latino students who enrolled in 2009 graduated in five years.

Madison Moore, Contributing Writer

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As the first family member to attend college, Berenice Contreras had to learn everything on her own. From financial management to preparing to move to Long Beach, attaining a higher education was unfamiliar territory.

The CSULB Graduation and Retention Rate report from 2014 found that 43 percent of Latinos who enrolled in fall 2009 graduated in five years, compared to 61 percent whites and 49 percent Asian Americans.

Contreras, a sophomore liberal studies major at California State University, Long Beach, said that it was much harder to know what to expect from college.

“Although I was in college preparatory classes, I was not prepared for college,” Contreras said. “It was a learning process that I was able to figure out on my own.”

Although more Latinos are meeting the basic requirements to graduate high school, they still “lag far behind in overall college readiness, enrollment and completion rates,” according to “The State of Higher Education: Latino Report” released by the Campaign for College Opportunity’s in April.

According to the report, although 65 percent of Latino undergraduates attend a California community college, only 39 percent will earn a degree, certificate or transfer within six years, in comparison to 53 percent of whites.

“When one in two children under the age of 18 in California is Latino, one conclusion is clear: The future of our economy and the state will rise or fall on the educational success of Latinos,” the report said. “To secure the economic future of California, we need to significantly increase the number of Latino students who are prepared for, enroll in and graduate from college.”

According to projections by the Public Policy Institute of California and California Competes, the economy should have about 2.3 million additional workers college educated workers by 2025.

“It is impossible to meet these workforce goals without significantly increasing the number of Latinos who go to college and graduate,” the Campaign for College Opportunities report said.

Many Latino students are having difficulty attaining a higher education due to lack of financial resources, according to the report.

Tuition and fees have increased greatly over the past decade, with the average total tuition and fees paid by resident undergraduate students at California State Universities, Universities of California and California City Colleges increased by approximately 150 percent since 2003-4, according to the report.

California voters approved Proposition 209 in 1996, outlawing the ability to consider race, ethnicity and gender in college admissions.

The Campaign for College Opportunity recommended that California’s public universities should be allowed to use race/ethnicity as a weighing factor in admission qualifications.

“Latinos are substantially underrepresented in higher education, especially at the University of California,” the report said. “The state has broken its promise to provide quality education for all of its residents.”



Editor’s note: The headline of this article has been revised since it’s original publication. 

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