While more than half of California's public school children are Latino, they are underrepresented on college campuses, particularly in four-year schools, according to a new statewide study.
The Campaign for College Opportunity's "Latinos and Higher Education" report finds that Latinos are not going directly to college after high school graduation in as many numbers as youth from other groups. It also found these students are not accessing high school college preparation courses as much as students in other age groups.
In addition, Latino students attending community colleges are less likely to obtain a degree or transfer after six years, Campaign for College Opportunity Executive Director Michele Siqueiros said.
At Napa Valley College, Latinos accounted for nearly 2,000, or 31.6 percent, of the students enrolled in credit courses in the fall 2011 semester, according to college statistics.
But, just 27 percent of the full-time Latino students who attended Napa College for the first time in fall of 2007 had graduated with a degree or certificate in three years.
The new report showed poorer overall results. It found that while large numbers of Latinos attend classes at community colleges, only 22 percent earn a degree or transfer, Siqueiros said.
"That's really disturbing," Siqueiros said. "It doesn't bode well for the future."
Likewise, too few Latino students meet requirements for admission into a public four-year university, according to the
An upcoming Latino Youth Leadership Conference will focus on motivating and guiding young Latino students to persist in their studies and strive to continue their education, organizers said.
The 28th annual Latino Youth Leadership Conference takes place 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 24, on the main campus and will include a keynote speech by Woodland Mayor Art Pimentel.
The conference is open to all middle and high school students and their parents, and includes workshops addressing such topics as career and educational awareness.
Conferences and other efforts are vital to foster early college awareness in middle and high school students and give them information they need to pursue higher education, Siqueiros said.
At Napa Valley College, the conference will feature a panel of university representatives who will speak about the admissions process for higher education while members of a student panel will talk about their experiences being in college.
A workshop will address culture and heritage and other sessions will be for Latino parents to inform them about the opportunities for their children.
To register and to learn more about free bus transportation call 253-3034, 253-3078 or 253-3537.
Meanwhile, Siqueiros said legislation has been introduced which would, if passed, help prioritize college enrollment for Latinos, and make sure these students have access to classes they need to graduate.
The bill also would ensure that students have educational plans in place, and that they show progress if they receive tuition fee waivers.
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