College Promise: Increasing Equity and Economic Mobility for Latino Students

The College Promise Campaign, a national nonprofit working to increase the number of quality College Promise programs providing paid-for college tuition and fees, released a landscape crosswalk of existing programs supporting Latino students during a convening of employers and higher education leaders in D.C. on May 8, 2019. Of the 523 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) across the nation, 172 of those institutions are currently participating in College Promise programs. The College Promise seeks to make higher education more accessible and affordable for students while also providing supports that increase likelihood of completion.

“The Latino community has the highest labor force participation in America; we bring a work ethic and commitment to family that is a hallmark of American values and culture,” said Rosye Cloud, Vice President of the College Promise Campaign. “As a first generation American Latina, much of my American identity was shaped through my experiences in higher education and meaningful career. We must do better at providing Latino students a pathway into the middle class and the ‘how’ to achieve the American dream of prosperity.”

Latinos represent 18% of the total population and comprise 16% of the total population working full-time and 15% of those working part-time. They have higher labor force participation rates when compared to other groups 16 and older (66% Latino, 64% Asian, 63% White, 62% African-Americans). However, strong employment and labor participation rates are not indicators of social mobility. Latinos are significantly overrepresented in lower-paying occupations (approximately 50% of construction workers, agricultural workers or cleaners), versus the highest-paying occupations (only 22% of Latinos are employed in management or professional occupations). Latinos in the labor force also have lower levels of high school diploma attainment (75% versus 90% of white students) and Bachelor’s degree attainment (20% versus 40% of white students).   

It is with this in mind that the College Promise Campaign is announcing a focus on increasing Latino student success. In partnership with Excelencia in Education, the College Promise Campaign hosted a leadership roundtable with corporate, higher education, and nonprofit leaders to discuss the opportunities for improving the Latino student pipeline into meaningful careers. While Latino students have made significant strides in college access and degree attainment at the state and national level over the past five years, considerable gaps remain in access, completion and labor force participation. The College Promise Campaign and Excelencia in Education recognize the importance of addressing these gaps and what it means for improving the social and economic outcomes of our nation’s Latino communities.


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