A new report by The Educational Trust shows the need to prioritize completion rates for underrepresented students
While more Latinx students are enrolling in four-year colleges and universities than ever before and graduation rates are on the rise, nationally, the graduation rate for Latinx students at four-year colleges and universities is 10 percentage points behind their white counterparts (53.6 percent and 63.3 percent respectively), according to a new report from The Education Trust. Bucking this trend is Whittier College, who tops the list of high-performing institutions that, based on three-year averages, have low completion gaps and higher graduation rates for Latinx than similar institutions.
“This report confirms what we have known for many years now—Whittier College is a model for the nation of how a campus can successfully embrace diversity and achieve notable outcomes,” said President Sharon Herzberger. “These outcomes are a result of innovative programs, unique curricular offerings, and best practices designed by faculty and staff to address the needs of Latinx, first generation, and students from other underrepresented groups on campus.”
Whittier boasts a multifaceted array of programs, including hiring and staffing practices that place a high priority on cultural awareness; a strong emphasis on providing students with academic advising, career counseling, and other support services; and the implementation of gateway courses designed to foster student success.
The report, A Look at Latino Student Success: Identifying Top- and Bottom-Performing Institutions, concludes that eliminating the national completion gap between Latinx and white students requires simultaneous work from our nation’s higher education leaders on three fronts: 1) closing institutional gaps between Latinx and white graduation rates; 2) improving overall graduation rates at colleges and universities that enroll significant numbers of Latino students; and 3) ensuring more Latinx attend selective institutions with high graduation rates.
“Equitable completion rates are possible. All college and university leaders must take their responsibility seriously to provide students with the support they need to earn their degrees, while leaders at selective institutions, where Latinx students are grossly underrepresented, need to put their resources to work to increase their enrollments of Latinx students,” said Andrew H. Nichols, Ph.D., The Education Trust’s director of higher education research and data analytics and author of the report.
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Founded in 1887, Whittier College is an independent four-year residential liberal arts college that encourages students to question the world around them and figure out their place in it. Located in the heart of Southern California between bustling Los Angeles and beautiful Orange County, Whittier is distinguished by its small size, energetic faculty, and nationally recognized curriculum. With an emphasis on diversity, community, and curricular innovation, the College’s primary mission is to endow students with the education, skills, and values appropriate for global leadership and service.
The Education Trust is a nonprofit advocacy organization that promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels, pre-kindergarten through college. Its goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people — especially those from low-income families or who are Black, Latino, or American Indian — to lives on the margins of the American mainstream. www.EdTrust.org