US: Latino College Students Struggling To Remain Enrolled: Here’s Why
More than half of Latino college students in the United States considered dropping out last year, a 10-point increase from 2020, despite increasing Hispanic enrollment at four-year colleges and universities, according to a Lumina Foundation-Gallup “State of Higher Education” poll.
Around 52% of Hispanic students polled considered stopping their coursework for at least one term, compared to around 43% of Black, 36% of white and 30% of Asian students. Difficulties, particularly with affordability and accessibility, are making it hard for Latino students.
Latinos Approaching Higher Education Differently
Researchers said the primary factors challenging Latino students are similar to students of other backgrounds, namely the cost of attendance, mental health and difficulty of the material. But Latino students were also more likely to blame childcare or adult caregiving responsibilities.
Latinos are approaching higher education in a non-traditional way. Many of them are balancing full-time work, which could make college completion more of a challenge. And it’s not just Latinos who are approaching college in this way.
Around 44% of Latino students in the United States are first-generation, or the first in their family to attend college or university, according to Excelencia in Education, a non-profit working on increasing Latino college completion.
Institutions Focusing On Latino Student Retention
Avian Jimenez, 21, said, as a first-generation student, navigating college was not easy. He is currently on leave but is considering leaving college altogether, blaming finances and a lack of ability to keep up with his peers. Avani, his twin sister, has a different experience, however.
In September, 14 colleges and universities focusing on enrolling and retaining Latino students in higher education earned the seal of Excelencia. The University of Central Florida is one of the institutions, and one of just three Hispanic-serving institutions in the state.