Tag Archives: Higher Education

Moving the Goal Line

LynNell Hancock and Meredith Kolodner examine how the increased emphasis on SAT scores at some colleges is helping to create a two-tier system in higher education – the first for Asian and white freshman and a second for Latino and black students. CUNY is one such institution:

At a time of massive and widening inequality gaps in New York City, CUNY has a responsibility to address these equity gaps within and across its colleges,” said Michelle Fine, CUNY graduate center professor of psychology and urban education. “I fear that we have lost thousands of talented and engaged students of color who are rejected by our senior colleges and yet accepted by other highly competitive private colleges and universities.

The basis of the article is this report which suggests the 2008 recession  forced colleges to raise SAT score requirements to manage the increased number of people entering college. Latinos and other people of color were systematically squeezed out:

As a result, beginning in 2009, the makeup of CUNY colleges changed significantly. The incoming freshmen at top-tier schools had higher SAT scores and GPAs than those in previous years. Many students that previously had been able to enroll in top-tier schools were now enrolling in second-tier senior colleges. And more freshmen with scores that would have previously allowed them to get into a four-year college program were enrolling in community colleges.

Dream It, Build It

Spare Parts opens this week. The movie is based on the true story of four undocumented Latino engineering students from Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix who compete in an underwater robotics contest sponsored by NASA and the U.S. Navy. They compete against 10 other colleges, including engineering powers MIT, Virginia Tech, and Duke.

Spoiler alert, the movie does have a happy ending.

However, despite their inspirational story, the students in film continue to face barriers that Hollywood can’t fix. One student working towards an electrical engineering degree needs our help.

How Many Will Get In?

The University of California system received a record number of freshman applications – over a third were Latinos:

First-time freshman applications to Cal State increased to 552,642 from 526,798, while transfer applications increased to 238,258 from 234,659.

At UC, Latinos, who make up the largest group of public school students in the state, increased their share of California freshman applications to 34.1% from 32.7% last year. The share of applications from African Americans rose to 6.1% from 5.9%.

“The data show that the University of California continues to draw unprecedented numbers of top-notch students eager to learn and contribute,” UC President Janet Napolitano said in a statement.

It was only last year that more Latinos than whites were admitted into the UC system.

Non-Traditional Needs

As an educator for the last 13 years, I’ve seen the student demographic and socio-economic changes first hand. What hasn’t changed is how traditional higher education is serving the 21st Century non-traditional student:

Higher education has been slow to catch up to this new reality – to the detriment of thousands of students. The ways we provide instruction, finance education, market the college experience, and measure student learning still look much like they did years ago. And as we cling to outdated models, thousands of the college students in this new demographic are dropping out and sinking into debt at higher-than-average rates.

Recent reports, including one released last month by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), highlight this pressing problem. The IWPR report shows that a quarter of those in college today– 4.8 million students – are raising dependent children, and more than half of those students are single parents.

Yesterday’s announcement by President Obama proposing two free years of community college for students is a positive first step, IF it can’t get through Congress.

Latino Market Growth and Opportunities

Jose Villa at the Engage Hispanics blog outlines eight trends impacting the Latino market in 2015 and beyond. An interesting list that shouldn’t be too surprising given the demographic, economic, and political changes we’ve seen over the last decade in the Latino population. Two of the eight trends focus on education, highlighting the increased representation of U.S. Latinos in “non-traditional” regions.

According to the Pew Research Center, there are 17 states where Latino children comprise at least 20% of the public school kindergarten population. Today’s kindergartners offer a glimpse of tomorrow’s demographics – indicating a much more Hispanic population in states like Kansas, Nebraska, and Idaho. In states like California and Texas, Hispanics represent the majority of kindergartners.

Still Looking for Access

A USC study reports that Latino high school students (in California) who graduate from top schools still attend community colleges.  Regardless of the state, the barriers remain the same.

According to the study:

Previous research has found the concentration of Latinos in the public two-year sector to be attributable to many factors, including the relatively low cost, geographic accessibility, and curricular and program flexibility of community colleges.

Previous posts on this topic here, And so it goes…..

The Road Less Traveled

A recent California study shows Latinos disproportionally attend community colleges after graduating from high school. Why? The study points to several challenges faced by Latinos:

Previous research has found the concentration of Latinos in the public two-year sector to be attributable to many factors, including the relatively low cost, geographic accessibility, and curricular and program flexibility of community colleges (e.g., Crisp & Nora, 2010; Nora & Crisp, 2009). Researchers have also pointed to systemic disparities in K-12 school quality experienced by Latinos and the consequences that attending disadvantaged and underresourced schools have on Latino student college readiness (Nora & Crisp, 2009).