Paying for College: A Hispanic Perspective

The Wall Street Journal has a good article on the “last minute” attempts by college students to obtain loans or some kind of aid to finance their college educations. Literally hundreds of thousands of students are finding it challenging to finance their educations due in part to recent economic times.

As grants and student loans become an increasingly important piece of higher education financing, particularly for Hispanics, here are some facts about Hispanics and how they approach financing their college education. Credit for the following information is given to Excelencia in Education.

  • In 2003-04, Hispanics were less likely to borrow than their White and Black counterparts—30 percent and 25 percent, compared with 35 and 43 percent, respectively.
  • Hispanic students are less likely to borrow to pay for college, even if they have substantial remaining financial need after receiving federal, state, or institutional grants.
  • Hispanics were more likely to borrow to attend private for-profit institutions than to attend public four-year institutions. In 2003-04, 68 percent of Hispanic undergraduates at for-profit institutions borrowed to pay for college, compared to 41 percent of Hispanics at public four-year institutions.
  • Hispanic non-borrowers (36 percent) were more likely than White students (29 percent) to work full time.
  • In focus groups, some Latino students expressed reluctance to take out loans because of concerns for repayment if they do not complete college. They would rather make their college choices based on their current economic situation while managing their family and personal responsibilities.
  • Latino students said they chose a college or university on the basis of the “sticker price,” or published price, and did not really factor in potential financial aid or the possible use of loans.