News Column

The Future of Hispanics in Higher Education

April 11, 2013


Hispanic student (file photo)
Hispanic student (file photo)

U.S. Hispanic enrollment in higher education has never been greater, Yvette Donado noted in her keynote address at the Latino Institute's annual conference Wednesday in Princeton, N.J., meaning now is the time to address opportunities for expanding the role of Hispanics in education.

"National Hispanic organizations must coalesce and become more forceful advocates for greater educational opportunity," Donado, chief administrative officer and senior vice president of Educational Testing Service (ETS), said in her address. "Foundations, corporations and government agencies must also be more flexible and visionary in their giving policies. Sadly -- despite our great needs -- Latino organizations receive only about 3 percent of philanthropic dollars."

Participants at the two-day gathering discussed the roles of Hispanics in higher education, along with the growth of the Hispanic student population, the effect of proposed immigration reforms and the Dream Act, and the roles that faculty and administrators play.

Focusing on positive trends, Donado noted that the Hispanic high school dropout rate is shrinking and enrollment is growing, bilingualism is now seen as an asset, the number of Hispanic university administrators is increasing, and a growing awareness of Hispanic political clout means Latinos are well positioned to shape public policy.

She described best practices for attracting, retaining and graduating Hispanics, and outlined ways to capitalize on positive events to reduce the effect of negative ones.

"Clearly, the New Jersey Latino demographics signal a demand for a bigger share if our state is going to harness the work ethic, entrepreneurial zeal, need for education and aspirations of our growing Latino population," she said. "In a generation, Hispanics will be one-third of the state population . . . So let's share, let's help one another."

Donado concluded her remarks by saying, "People are coming together, sacrificing, demonstrating that Latinos have proven to be self-sufficient and contributing members of the in American society. They are law-abiding, hard-working, entrepreneurial and devoted to family. The only thing they want is an equal chance to live the American dream."

ETS, founded as a nonprofit in 1947, provides customized solutions for teacher certification and English language learning, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. It scores more than 50 million tests a year, including the TOEFL and TOEIC tests, the GRE test and The Praxis Series.


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