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Latinos Lag In Degree Completion

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Aired 4/18/12

Latino graduation rates at San Diego's public universities lag their white counterparts, but not by as much as state and national averages.

Across the U.S., Latinos complete college degrees at rates lower than any other ethnic group. In California, Latino college graduation rates lag those for white students by 12.6 percent, according to recent report from Excelencia in Education.

Latinos make up nearly a third of San Diego County’s total population. But about 46 percent of the county’s residents under 18.

As more Latinos reach college age, expanding programs that increase Latino degree completion is vital to the country’s economic future, said Deborah Santiago, vice president for policy and research at Excelencia in Education.

“We don’t want to forget that this is fundamentally about students and that there are things we can be doing – that are already being done – that we need to bring attention to and invest in to ensure that we continue to have the educated citizenry and workforce that we need,” she said.

Latino students' graduate from San Diego State within six years at a rate 10 percentage points behind whites, according to the school's more recent data. At Cal State San Marcos the gap is 3 percentage points. UC San Diego Mexican-American students lag their white classmates by 12 percentage points and other Latinos lag by six points.

Santiago pointed to program's like SDSU's Compact for Success as examples of efforts that have been shown to increase Latino degree attainment. The Compact For Success guarantees admission to Sweetwater Union High School District students who meet the program's five benchmarks.

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