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Education Conference Seeks To Help Young Latinos Get To College

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Aired 9/17/10

Latinos are the youngest and fastest growing population in the United States but they’re the least likely to get a four-year degree. An education conference in San Diego this weekend will look at ways to enroll more Latinos in college.

Latinos are the youngest and fastest growing population in the United States, but they’re the least likely to get a four-year degree. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities is holding an education conference in San Diego this weekend to focus on enrolling more Latinos in college and closing the achievement gap among minority students.

U.S. Census data reveals Latinos make up nearly a third of San Diego County’s population. Latinos will become a larger portion of the region’s workforce as baby boomers retire in the coming decade.

Many of those baby-boomer jobs will require a college degree, said Antonio Flores, president of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. He said winning the battle of educating Latinos has to start with K-12 education.

"Which means that our higher education institutions need to collaborate more closely with the k-12 schools in their service areas. We also need to do a much better job of education and training of teachers," said Flores.

Flores said the path to college can be more difficult for Latino students because they’re often the first in their families to attend.

"Oftentimes, our Latino students come from homes where the parents have never had an opportunity to even finish high school let alone go to college, so the collegiate experience is not part of their lives," said Flores.

He said high tuition costs and family responsibilities are also obstacles.

The 24th Annual conference, "Championing Hispanic Higher Education Success: Expanding Opportunities in Challenging Times" is scheduled to take place September 18-20 in downtown San Diego.

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