U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently announced 99 new grants totaling $60.1 million awarded to colleges that enroll a high percentage of Latino students. "We can meet President Obama's goal of having the highest college graduation rate in the world by 2020 only if we dramatically boost college completion rates among students of all races, ethnicities and income levels," Duncan said.
The money will be provided to Hispanic-serving institutions, defined as colleges or universities that enroll at least 25 percent Hispanic full-time undergraduate students. The awards can be used to provide outreach to students, including mentoring, scholarships or fellowships, academic support services, educational technology updates and classroom renovations among other improvements.
The announcement was a bright spot in an otherwise dim outlook for Latinos in education. Only 13% of Latinos have a bachelor’s degree, and a dismal 28% of college-age Latinos are enrolled in college. As co-president of Latina magazine Galina Espinoza recently pointed-out, during President Obama's recent talk with Matt Lauer about the state of education, he never once mentioned Latinos—a glaring oversight considering the size of our population. At least these new grants are a step in the right direction.