Supporting Latino Community College Students: An Investment in Our Economic Future

Supporting Latino Community College Students: An Investment in Our Economic Future

Andrew Stettner
June 2013


Most Latino students who enroll in college begin at community colleges. This paper highlights how Excelencia in Education (Excelencia), Single Stop USA, and innovative community colleges across the country are making smart changes in their student services that are helping thousands of Latino students access millions of dollars in supports and services that can help keep them in college. Together, these organizations are helping Latino students succeed and are providing a path for policymakers and college leaders to follow that can result in millions of additional college graduates.

While student enrollment at community colleges has increased over the last 10 years, degree completion has not grown as quickly for Latino students. This limited degree attainment is the result of several barriers students face such as college cost, limited college knowledge, increased family responsibility, and work. For example, many Latino students are the first in their family to attend college and make choices to contain costs by enrolling at community colleges, attending part-time, and working more than 20 hours per week while enrolled. Unfortunately, these practical choices to contain costs, can hinder students' college completion. Too few students know there are resources available to assist with college costs that can increase Latino student success. They are also less likely to access financial resources like tax credits, food assistance and public health insurance that can enable them to maintain a stable family budget while enrolled.

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