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A report: California Latinos and higher education

A report: California Latinos and higher education
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The number of Latinos in California with two- and four-year degrees has doubled in little more than a decade, a dramatic increase. But compared with the overall, growing Latino population, the proportion of college-trained Latino adults over the same period has remained flat — roughly one in 10 from 2005 to 2015.

The figures are from a new study commissioned by Univision’s Political, Advocacy and Government Group — which is separate from the network’s news division — on Latinos’ access to higher education in California and reflect the obstacles facing Latinos seeking a college education.

The findings of the report, which surveyed 2,322 registered voters, contain political implications for the 2018 elections, as well as economic concerns.

California’s Hispanic population, the largest in the nation in a state with 40 million people, has grown exponentially – from 16 percent of the total in 1970 to a plurality of the  population today and, at about 15 million people, the largest single ethnic group. The Latino population nearly doubled during the two decades from 1980 to 2000 alone, according to Department of Finance and U.S. Census figures.

The study was conducted by Media Predict, a polling company in partnership with California Competes. The results and methodology, which were released March 23 at a conference at Sacramento State University and earlier in Los Angeles,  can be seen here.

The Sacramento conference included analyses from the California Community Colleges and Sacramento State and was co-hosted by  California Competes, a nonprofit group that was involved in the study and conducts research and develops policies for educational reforms, among other issues.  “We are a research, policy development and advocacy organization,” said Executive Director Lande Ajose.  “We do raw research and we come up with policy recommendations.”

The findings of the report, which surveyed 2,322 registered voters, contain political implications for the 2018 elections, as well as economic concerns.

Hispanics intending to go to college and their parents show the greatest support for tax increases to support higher education — about 44 percent and 43 percent, respectively — compared with 36 percent and 37 for non-Hispanics. The report uses the terms “Hispanics” and “Latinos” interchangeably.

All students planning a college career, regardless of their ethnicity, see college affordability as a top priority: Fully three-fourths of the college-bound students and better than four-out-of-five of their parents say costs are a premier issue. An overwhelming majority, about three-fourths of those surveyed, also say that financial considerations have a direct effect on choice of college.

“For me, the biggest takeaway is that the economic future of California will demand more jobs that require higher education to be filled.” — Chiqui Cartagena.

About 44 percent of Latinos who plan a college career, along with 54 percent of their parents, say their vote in 2018 is more likely to be influenced by a candidate’s position on higher education. The survey noted that the Latino parents’ views of the importance of the candidates’ positions on higher education were more than double that of non-Hispanic parents, at 26 percent, while their children also were less than potential Latino students, at 33 percent.

“Most candidates are unaware of the issues that matter most to Latinos,” said Chiqui Cartagena, senior vice president of the Political, Advocacy and Government Group. “They automatically think immigration is the most important issue. It’s important but, in fact, health care and education and jobs often are ahead in terms of importance to voters.”

The need for a well-educated workforce and access to higher education for Latinos is crucial in a state where Latinos play such a dominant role in the makeup of the population, she added.

“For me, the biggest takeaway is that the economic future of California will demand more jobs that require higher education to be filled,” Cartagena said. The proportionately low rates of Latino college graduation must be improved “in order for California to have a sustainable future. This is not just a Latino issue, but an issue for all of California, a trend-setting state, and an issue for all Americans. We see the same kind of gaps in other states.”

About half of Latinos who intend to go to college will enter a two-year  community college, while about 43 percent envision entering a four-year program for a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Sciences degree.

Among the survey’s findings:

–Less than half of Latinos surveyed, about 48 percent, said they knew enough about their college options in order to make an informed choice, compared with about 67 percent of non-Hispanics.

–Hispanics and non-Hispanics agree, both at 68 percent, that the cost of college is too high.

–Only about a third of Latinos believe going to a private college is worth it, but for non-Hispanics the figure is even lower — 24 percent.

–A substantial portion of both groups, about a third, believe the value of a college degree is decreasing.

–Nearly half of Latinos intending to go to college say they are doing so in order to enter a new career field, and more than a third say they won’t advance in their current field without more education.

–Three-fourths of Latinos plan to work while attending college, which is less than the 85 percent of non-Hispanics who intend to work while taking classes.

Better than four-out-of-five of the parents of both Latinos and non-Latinos, 84 percent,  believe that upon graduating from college their children will find a good job.

–About half of Latinos who intend to go to college will enter a two-year program at a community college, while about 43 percent envision entering a four-year  program for a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Sciences degree. More than half of the Latinos say they intend to attend a two-year school before going to a four-year institution.

–More than half of the parents of Latinos, however, about 58 percent, want their children to attend a four-year program, and for non-Hispanics that figure is higher — about 72 percent.

–About four out of five Latinos say attending community college offers advantages, led by fitting best into the student’s schedule, and followed by being close to home and representing the lowest cost option.

–More than three-fourths of Latinos intending to go to college say graduation from a four-year school will make them fully prepared to enter the workforce, and nearly 70 percent said there should be greater access to trade schools and apprenticeship programs.

–Better than four-out-of-five of the parents of both Latinos and non-Latinos, 84 percent,  believe that upon graduating from college their children will find a good job. The children themselves, however, are less optimistic — just over 70 percent.

–About a fifth of the parents of college-bound Latino students expect their children to be able to land a $100,000-a-year job upon graduation; for non-Hispanics, the figure is about 15 percent. The expectations of the students are lower — only about 3 percent of Latinos and 4 percent of non-Latinos envision a $100,000 salary upon graduation.




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