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New America

Adapting campuses, classes, and processes to better serve Hispanic students will be a crucial step toward meeting national attainment goals. Since fall 2000, the number of Hispanic students in public colleges has effectively doubled. However, due to a Congressional ban on a student-level data system, the federal government is flying blind when it comes to knowing how millions of Hispanic college students are faring. This report examines how the data systems of two states, Texas and California, provide important insights into the measure of student success and the different challenges facing institutions of higher education. In California, community colleges and state universities have seen steady increases in retention rates and credit accumulation rates of Hispanic students over the past decade. Most notably, California State University, Long Beach, improved its two-year retention rate for first-time full-time Hispanic students by nearly 13 percentage points from 2000 to 2011. David Dowell, the interim provost and senior vice president at the university, attributed this success to several improvements, including a new budgeting model that ensures the college can offer all the classes it wants each year, the creation of annual graduation goals, and proactive advising that gives students a clearer pathway to completion for each major. In Texas, community colleges and four-year institutions have seen substantial increases in enrollment, yet notable decreases in two-year persistence rates, among Hispanic students between 2000 and 2012. Using findings from data and interviews, this report provides the following recommendations at the federal, state, and institutional levels: (1) Use data to help colleges start conversations about their results and serve as a jumping-off point to deeper dives within their own administrative data; (2) Track outcomes for students beyond the traditional first-time full-time cohort; (3) Explicitly include Hispanic students in strategic planning for higher education; (4) Provide opportunities for students to earn college credit while still in high school; and (5) Overturn the ban that prohibits creating a federal student unit record system. Contains notes.

Descriptors: Hispanic American Students, Student Records, Academic Achievement, Achievement Rating, Demography, Diversity (Institutional), Higher Education, Community Colleges, Success, State Surveys, Comparative Analysis, College Credits, Academic Persistence, Change Strategies, Educational Change, Educational Trends

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Autor: Miller, Ben


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