Obstacles to College For Hispanics
If current trends continue, for every 100 Hispanic children that begin elementary school this year, only 12 will graduate with a four year college degree. Yet for every 100 white children that begin elementary school this year, 36 will get a four year degree. That translates into one third as many Hispanics who enjoy higher incomes, safer jobs, and jobs with benefits. (According to a 2008 report by Sallie Mae)
Sadly, it also means fewer Hispanic mentors for the next generation. Fewer Hispanic politicians to endorse policies that align with the values of the Hispanic community. Ultimately, without change the lack of Hispanics to serve as role models will result in the perpetuation of the marginalization of Hispanics in United States.
It is not that Hispanics do not believe that a college education is an investment in their future. Actually, when asked Hispanic students reported that college was an important investment in their future, more often than any other ethnic group. What are the barriers to Hispanics getting college degrees? Cultural, historical, economical and academic barriers are some factors that account for the discrepancy between Hispanic values and the relative low rate of degree attainment.
The fact that Hispanics have been college degrees for a long time is a factor that affects college education rates today. With the exception of teachers, many Hispanic students have never had an educated Hispanic adult to role model. The lack of Hispanic role models and mentors, has a profound affect on young Hispanics today, causing some students to question their ability to get a college education.
Hispanics are more likely to earn a salary that is below poverty, nearly one in four Hispanics lives in poverty. College is expensive and getting more expensive. The cost of college is one barrier for Hispanics, however another issue compounds the problem. Culturally, Hispanics are less likely to readily accept the various types of financial aid available to college students. Culturally, Hispanics are averse to taking on large debt, more so than other ethnic groups.Continued on the next page