- On May 24, 2016
- In Education
The Resources Latino Students Need for their Future
Our nation is experiencing a crisis in higher education; almost half of college students are leaving before they earn their degree. During the last decade, the city of Boston has made efforts to increase graduation and enrollment rates within the Boston Public Schools System, and although significant leaps have been made, the results are not equal across all demographics. Students of color are still lagging in both enrollment and graduation averages, as outlined in a report from the Boston Foundation, racial-ethnic disparities have widened over the past few years with only 51% Hispanic students from the class of 2009 enrolled in college for the fall semester. This data is not to be taken lightly, but it is important to analyze it further taking into consideration external factors that are a reality for many students of color. As explained by ¡Excelencia! In Education, a non-profit focused on education and Latinos, in an NBCNews article, enrollment is steadily increasing, even if not all students have their degrees during the stipulated time for data collection. "The fact they are still enrolled and going to college is still a success, but we don't capture that in data," they said. “Students generally end up taking longer to graduate or stop and start their higher education because more than 70 percent of all students work while attending college. Many students who are the first generation to attend college are also helping family or work and family issues such as child care needs interfere.” This is precisely the reason why we need specific programs and workshops geared towards students of color, in order to address their needs and help them succeed on their path to a fruitful career, a path which can be different than the traditional 4 year program. Through a collaboration with Hyde Square Task Force, Sociedad Latina, and East Boston Ecumenical Community Council we have organized a Latino College Success Conference with high school seniors in mind. Our aim is to give these students the resources they need to stay in college and have conversations that apply to their life experience and will help as they pursue a college degree. As explained by IBA’s Youth Development Coordinator, Erika Rodriguez “College can be a very big culture shock for a lot of young people of color. There is not a significant representation of people that look like them, professors, or faculty that look like them. That can be discouraging and scary,” she said. During the conference students will have the opportunity to talk about time management, financial planning, whether it be living expense or student loans, as well as how to navigate the different systems of higher education that can seem daunting if one isn’t prepared. “It’s just important to have these conversations,” said Rodriguez. “We also have to talk about access for Latino and black parents, there are lot of students of color who are first generation and can’t rely on their parents for academic and financial support." With conferences and programs like this one students of color know they are not alone in their journey and can receive information about their particular situations. Another important factor is the sense of community, “I think the most powerful aspect of the conference is that the Latino students that will be attending will be able to create that cohort,” explained Rodriguez. “All those going to Northeastern will get together, or those going to UMASS will have an opportunity to meet each other and work with each other. That’s really powerful,” she added. This conference provides the perfect opportunity to explore your options and meet others that can relate to your experience. There will also be resources for high school seniors who are not going to college; different organizations for transitional programs with open enrollment will be present to answer any questions and offer guidance. For more details regarding the Latino College Success Conference, June 25th, visit this page....