Improving college graduation rates is a significant challenge facing Latinos. But the news isn’t all bad. Some universities are exhibiting more success than others with Hispanic students.
Stony Brook University in New York increased its Hispanic graduation rate from 41.8 to 58.1 percent between 2004 and 2010. Stony Brook’s Educational Opportunity Program provides support for entering students whose high schools didn’t offer strong college preparatory opportunities. The program includes a summer boot camp and support services such as academic advising and study skill workshops.
“The counselors are always there for support,” one EOP participant said in the report. “It’s not like I’m a number… Each advisor knows you by your first, middle and last name. They call me on my birthday. Stony Brook wouldn’t be the same experience without it.”
Texas Tech University increased Latino graduation rates from 40.5 percent in 2004 to 58.7 in 2010. The university placed a focus on diversity in the highest ranks of administrators. In the last few years, a division of institutional diversity, equity and community engagement was created.
“Supporting the values of equity, diversity and the success of underrepresented students is embedded in the strategic plan of the institution as a whole,” said Jose Munoz, vice president of the diversity division and the vice provost for undergraduate education and student affairs. “It’s not a compensatory program. We do this to help the institution, the state, and the country. It’s not a zero-sum game; it benefits all.”
The report seeks to highlight those universities that are bright spots and are models of success.
“Thankfully, some institutions are showing us that the status quo is not inevitable,” said Jose Cruz, vice president of the Education Trust, in a news release. ““The lessons are clear: What institutions of higher education do—and don’t do—for students directly and powerfully impacts student success. The schools we’ve identified provide vivid sign posts on the road to boosting graduation rates at colleges and universities across the country.”