Latino Students Thriving at Whittier Despite National Graduation Trend

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Latino students thriving at Whittier College despite national trend.With a 63 percent graduation rate, Whittier College's Latino students are outperforming their peers on a national level.

According to a new study of national college graduation data by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), across the country, only 51 percent of Latino students who start college complete a bachelor's degree in six years, compared to 59 percent of white students. That disparity holds true no matter the ability of the students or the reputation of the schools.

"These data show quite clearly that colleges and universities cannot place all of the blame on students for failing to graduate," said Andrew P. Kelly of the AEI. "Colleges struggling to graduate their Hispanic students should learn from the successes of leaders like Whittier College, which has successfully closed the gap between its Hispanic and white students."

The authors found that graduation rates improve with an increased institutional focus on graduating all students, better consumer information, and reformed government funding that focuses on performance instead of enrollment.

"Schools that say 'we just don't have the resources' aren't trying hard enough," said Whittier President Sharon Herzberger. "If we can achieve the outcomes we do with our modest endowment, so can many others."

The report comes at a time when the Latino population in the United States is rapidly growing, and their academic achievements have important implications for America's future. Click here to see the full report.

Read articles about Whittier's Latino graduation rates in La Opinion and the Pasadena Star News.