California’s Latinos miss out on higher ed

California’s Latinos are missing out on higher education opportunities concludes Latinos and Higher Education by the Campaign for College Opportunity.

Latinos make up about half of California’s college-age population, the statewide profile found.

In 2009, 57% of Latino students graduated from high school, and of those, only 16% met the A-G requirements for admission to the University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) and only half (8%) enrolled in one of those two systems.

In 2009, only 7% of Latinos age 25 and older held a baccalaureate degree in California, compared to 30% of all Californians.

Of Latino students who do go to college, over two thirds start at a California Community College, where only two in 10 earn a certificate, associate degree, or transfer after six years.

At community colleges, Latinos make up 34% of incoming degree-seekers, but comprise only 23% of the overall completers, a drop off rate higher than their white and Asian Pacific Islander peers.

“The college-going and success rates for Latino students in California are cause for significant alarm,” says Michele Siqueiros, executive director of  Campaign for College Opportunity. “With the growing Latino population in our state and our increasing reliance on an educated workforce, all of our futures depend on it.”

Community colleges should require students to participate in orientation and diagnostic assessment and set education goals, the campaign advises. In addition, the campaign calls for encouraging more high school graduates to enroll directly in four-year state universities.