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Survey: Hispanic college students struggling more than others

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Monday, October 9, 2023   

The percentage of Hispanic college students who report they're struggling to stay in school increased 5% from 2021 to 2022, and was higher than for any other student group.

In the latest national Lumina Foundation-Gallup poll, the number of Hispanic students who said they have considered "stopping out," or taking a break for at least one college term, has risen 10% since before the pandemic.

Courtney Brown, vice president of strategic impact and planning for Lumina Foundation, said when they delved into the reasons, mental health and emotional stress came up often, as did personal responsibilities outside of school.

"We found that nearly half of Hispanic students also said they were caregivers or parents, which is slightly higher than other students," Brown reported. "That's one of the reasons that about 13% of Hispanic students are saying they're considering stopping out. That responsibility has become a problem."

More than any other group surveyed, Hispanic students, especially those enrolled in nondegree certificate and training programs, also reported feeling discriminated against, disrespected and even unsafe. Brown argued colleges need to provide support services as well as ways to report discrimination or harassment without fear of retaliation.

At Central New Mexico Community College, Hispanic students make up more than half the student body.

Nireata Seals, vice president of enrollment management and student success at the school, said they provide support with "wraparound services." A Wellness Program helps students with issues from mental health, to study habits and housing. And the school has hired a "Manager of Basic Needs," to explore bringing more social service agencies to campus.

"Because we understand that, yes, students are stressed," Seals explained. "Sometimes there are mental health concerns; some are homeless; some have food insecurity. Some have one of those things -- some have all of those things -- and as a community college, we want to make sure that we're doing our best to support all our students."

At three of the school's campuses, students can get a free bag of fresh produce, nonperishable items and hygiene products every Wednesday. Seals added they are working with the state to develop what's known as "SNAP E and T" at the college. It would help eligible students sign up for food assistance, as well as employment and training resources.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.


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