Sep 152002
 
Authors: Sara Ford

A new report released by the Pew Hispanic Center on Sept. 5 has concluded that while Latino high school graduates enroll in college at a higher rate than Caucasians, they are less likely to earn bachelor degrees, due to financial pressures.

This report contradicts, according to the New York Times, “what has been a belief among policy makers that Latinos do not graduate from colleges and universities because they do not enroll.”

Guadalupe Salazar, the director of El Centro at CSU, a Latino Student Organization, agrees with the Pew Hispanic Center’s findings.

“I believe that financial pressures will hold back any student,” Salazar said. “However, it is true that many Hispanics are held back because they believe that they just don’t have the funding to pursue post-secondary education.”

Salazar herself attended school with limited resources. Attending college as a single mother with four children, there were times when she could barely afford milk.

“I went to school with grants, loans, scholarships and the encouragement of a lot of people,” Salazar said.

Salazar believes promoting awareness of financial aid opportunities will be the key to helping more Latino students complete a college level education. It is also important, Salazar said, for parents to get involved with their children at a young age, to help them find financial aid that will benefit their educational futures.

El Centro offers many different services to Latino students to help them succeed in school, including advisors, the Puentes Mentoring Program and financial aid workshops, which helps students make sure they have all their financial information correct.

Manuel Rodriguez-Escobar, a member of El Centro and a sophomore majoring in political science, believes the advisors are a great help to students because they can meet a student where they are.

“I believe that many of the advisors understand what the students are going through,” Rodriguez-Escobar said. “They can give good advice because they have been there.”

The Puentes Mentoring Program reaches out, mostly, to incoming freshman students, as well as transfer students and some sophomores. The mentors are upperclassmen involved with El Centro. They share their knowledge of the university with the new students, helping them feel more at home and offering them a Latino community that they can be a part of.

For many of the students involved with El Centro, the office is like a second family.

“This office is like a home on a smaller scale,” said Jennifer Duran, a sophomore majoring in business finance. “People (here) speak the same language, eat the same food you do.”

Edited by Shandra Jordan

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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