Spotlight on Hispanic Men in Education

Last week a report by the America Counci on Education showed that the gender gap in college enrollments is  leveling off, with the key exception of Hispanic enrollments, where men are falling further behind women. According to the article, one possible explanation might related to economics — males leaving school to work in order to support immediate and/or extended families. The decreasing trend of Hispanic men in college is not a new one. According to the National Center of Education Statistics, this is not a trend exclusive to Hispanic males, evidence suggests young males in general find it challenging to keep up with females across all racial and ethnic groups. In regards to Hispanics, some studies suggest that the decrease can be culturally related with the factors such as “machismo” playing a role early in a Hispanic male’s development.  Pressures facing Hispanics and other minorities to adapt to their peers can also be a cause. Finally, the lack of Hispanic teachers might have implications as well.  One explanation, for example, can be that women have better emotional intelligence and coping strategies than male Hispanics. Hence, their adaptation to college is better. As noted earlier, Hispanic males might also take very different paths when you consider work and other social factors.  While there are surely numerous reasons for this trend, what is evident is there is not research regarding the educational paths Hispanic college students take – particularly, the reasons why Hispanic men enroll but don’t complete college. While there is obvious work to be done, there are programs that are starting to take notice such as the Puente Project, Upward Bound, and other higher education associations. Programs like these and others will certainly make an impact in the long-term; however, there also needs to be a concentrated effort to bring this issue to forefront and keeping it there.

Other Source for this post: Victor B. Saenz and Luis Ponjuan Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, Jan 2009; vol. 8: pp. 54 – 89.