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Report: Arizona Latinos Struggle to Finish College

A new study says Arizona community colleges are now 42 percent Latino. (Kynn/Wikimedia Commons)
A new study says Arizona community colleges are now 42 percent Latino. (Kynn/Wikimedia Commons)
October 11, 2017

PHOENIX – Only about 11 percent of Latinos in Arizona have a bachelor's degree, compared to 35 percent of whites and 24 percent of African-Americans, according to a new report.

Researchers at Georgetown University also found that almost 60 percent of Arizona Latinos have a high school education or less, compared to 26 percent of whites and 32 percent of African-Americans.

Rich Nickel, president and CEO of College Success Arizona, says that Latino families have much higher rates of poverty, and he suggests the state offer grants to help low-income students.

"One thing that we could really use to help our Latino access and success rates is to have a student financial aid program that's directly funded by the Legislature, that really targets and incentivizes our low-income students, which often are Latino in Arizona," he states.

Nickel says Latino high school dropout rates have improved tremendously and community colleges are 42 percent Latino. That's 2 percent higher than the general population.

The study found the percentage of Latino students at community colleges is twice that at four-year colleges. However, the college dropout rate is substantial.

Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center for Education and the Workforce and the report’s lead author, says the second generation of Latinos is working hard, but needs support to increase graduation rates.

"The first generations made their money by working hard in jobs that don't require much more than high school,” he points out. “That leveraged them into a position where the next generation can move on to college, and that really is where the progress is going to have to come."

The report also found that Latinas in particular make less money than white women with the same credentials, and less than Latino men in general, even though they have higher college graduation rates.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ