Strengthening Hispanic Student Success

High Impact Practices for a Growing Community College Population

Topics: Community College, Student Retention and Success, Student Affairs, Student Experience, Special Populations, Social Media, Minority Students, Diversity and Multiculturalism

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Executive Summary

This study outlines best practices and strategies to help you improve Hispanic student success rates by focusing on the following three key areas:

Hispanics Driving Population Boom

Not just California—populations increases across the country

Across 2013, members approached the Forum for guidance in serving a fast-growing population of Hispanic students in their local communities. From 2000 to 2012, the United States experienced a 34% increase in its Hispanic population overall.

Forum research found that between 2012 and 2025, the Hispanic population is projected to increase by 33%. By 2050, it is expected to double in size from 2005. Reports from the Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project indicate that Latinos will account for 60% of the nation’s overall population growth from 2005 to 2050, making this demographic group critical to colleges’ future enrollments.

Remarkably, the states commonly associated with large numbers of Hispanic inhabitants (e.g., California, Florida, and Texas) are not the only locations where Hispanic populations are likely to grow. College leaders from states as diverse as Iowa, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Alabama, North Dakota, and Maine are seeking guidance on how to best serve Hispanic students who are largely represented in local primary and secondary schools in their local areas and enrolling in college in record numbers.

Losing Your Share

Rapid market growth as population swells, but colleges losing market share

Given the overall growth in the country's Hispanic population, the surge in the number of Latinos enrolling in postsecondary institutions is unsurprising, from 1.9 million to about 2.9 million nationally. Community college leaders have also witnessed a surge in their Hispanic student enrollments, but not to the same degree. Community colleges enrolled more Latino students in 2011 than in the years prior, but their market share declined. A greater portion of college-aged Latinos have opted to enroll in competitor programs instead of two-year colleges.

National data indicates Hispanic high school graduates are now outpacing their white, non-Hispanic peers in college-going rates. While community colleges can improve their recruitment of high school students, the greater challenge lies in preparing students for college success and graduation: only one in five Hispanic community college students completes an associates degree in six years, far below already dismal national completion rates.

This report offers college leaders strategies to equip Hispanic students with the information, skills, and support needed for long-term college success.

Cultivating College Navigation Skills