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Mexican Americans and Other Latinos in Postsecondary Education: Institutional Influences. ERIC Digest


The Latino population of the United States has grown dramatically in recent years, but Latino postsecondary participation and graduation rates have not increased. In 1998, only 7 percent of Mexican Americans (11 percent of all Latinos) held college degrees, versus 25 percent of the total U.S. population. This digest reviews the research on institutional and other factors that may influence the postsecondary success of Latino students. First, Latino high school students have lower academic achievement and graduation rates than do Whites or Blacks. Academic and social support at the secondary level can boost Latino college attendance. Second, the academic and social climate in higher education institutions can support or hinder academic success for Mexican American and other Latino students. Inclusive institutional climates that help students retain their cultural identity while developing a sense of belonging improve students' chances of persisting through college. Third, student financial aid programs positively influence college participation and completion rates, especially among low-income underrepresented groups. Finally, Latino students often lack the information necessary to consider postsecondary participation. Access to information about admissions, financial aid, preparation for entrance exams, services, and other resources can increase Latino participation. (Contains 26 references.) (SV)

  • Contributor: Nevarez, Carlos Corp Author Eric Clearinghouse on Rural Education, Small Schools, Charleston W. V.
  • Date Published: 2001

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