Latina teens who are bilingual, have Hispanic teachers and counselors, and are involved in extracurricular activities have a stronger likelihood of attending college, a new study has found.
The report, “Making Education Work for Latinas in the U.S.,” was conducted by The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at the University of California, Los Angeles, and commissioned by the actress Eva Longoria and her foundation.
Longoria’s foundation focuses on boosting education and entrepreneurship among Latinas. She hopes to use the report’s findings to better help Latinas.
Civil Rights Project co-director and education professor Patricia Gandara highlighted the importance of raising the education levels of Hispanic women.
“Latinas are the linchpin of the next generation — how a child fares in school is highly correlated with their mother’s education,” Gándara said in a news release. “If the cycle of under-education is to be broken for the Latino population, it will depend to a large extent on changing the fortunes of young women.”
Latinas benefit from involvement in extracurricular activities, which promote increased self-esteem. However, they face barriers to being more involved at school that include money, transportation issues, family needs and not feeling included.
The study shares that many Latinas enroll in non-selective two-year colleges because they are not aware of the greater opportunities at more selective four-year universities. Students who enroll in community college are less likely to graduate with degrees.
The paper includes the success stories of seven young Latinas. One of the young women recalled the influence of a Hispanic counselor.
“She was a person who really influenced me to want something more with my
life because she would tell me that because I was a Latina that I would be stereotyped..you don’t want to prove people right,you want to prove them wrong! You want to be able to say ‘I’m Latina and I’m going to college and I’m furthering my education!”