ERIC Number: ED506010
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Reference Count: 4
Voces (Voices): A Profile of Today's Latino College Students
Santiago, Deborah A.
Excelencia in Education (NJ1)
Latinos are the youngest and fastest growing ethnic group in the United States. It is imperative that institutional leaders and decision makers have a better understanding of Latino students today in order to shape the policies and practices to serve college students in the future. Currently, disparate statistics about Latino students in higher education are available from national databases and sources, such as the U.S. Census and the U.S. Department of Education's National Center on Education Statistics. However, these valuable data sources provide a limited and two-dimensional picture of Latino students. Frequently, for the sake of simplicity and clarity, many decision makers only focus on a single data point to characterize students. Rarely do decision makers receive informational tools that allow them to combine current statistics and trend data with the narratives of the very students described in statistical summaries. This document provides national data as well as information by Latino students speaking in their own voice. The work that gave shape to these profiles included focus groups and interviews with Latino college students discussing how they and their families view college affordability and opportunity. The students' comments were synthesized to create the profiles. Policy makers and institutional leaders must confront the changing demographics and the unchanging goal -- a college education -- of today's Latino college students. The stories of students profiled in this publication may be very familiar, or may be a revelation to the reader. Either way, the profiles are intended to provide a more nuanced portrayal of the multiplicity of Latino students in college today. This publication begins with a profile of Latino students based on national data. To complement this data, the publication also includes personal stories of Latino students who fit different composites of the broader statistical profile of Latino students. These profiles are the people and the real stories that underlie the numbers. Statistical data provide useful, although two-dimensional, composites of students. These composites help us recognize some of the contexts and the types of students that are grouped by different characteristics. However, because these composites are generally based on averages, they do not capture the many nuances that are present in the growing diversity in higher education, specifically in the case of Hispanics. For example, while Latinos are heterogeneous by country of origin, language ability, generational status, and college participation, the composite Latino college student may be described as a first-generation college student of Mexican descent, with developing English fluency, who enrolls in a college near his or her community. This composite does represent many, but not all Latino college students. Despite these limitations, it is useful to get a general picture of Latino students, as a point of departure to address the strengths and needs of these students.
Descriptors: Hispanic American Students, College Students, Student Characteristics, Profiles, Statistical Data, Personal Narratives, Student Financial Aid, Educational Attainment, College Attendance, Attendance Patterns
Excelencia in Education. 1752 N Street NW, 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-778-8323; Fax: 202-955-5770; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.EdExcelencia.org
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Authoring Institution: Excelencia in Education