According to a report by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, around 50 percent of the students in Arizona’s public schools are Hispanic.
The vice president of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Monica Villalobos, believes the influx of Hispanic students is a great opportunity for Arizona’s economy, and it’ll “provide companies with the talent pool they need to come here.”
The increase in the number of Hispanic students in Arizona has also led to a great increase in the number of Hispanic students graduating from high school. Despite this, the number of Latino students pursuing higher education isn’t as high as their non-Hispanic counterparts.
In 2016, over 50 percent of non-Hispanic students were enrolled in a four-year higher education program, while only 21 percent of Hispanic students pursued a similar program.
When considering two-year institutions, 28 percent of Hispanic students were enrolled in 2016, and 48 percent of non-Hispanic students were enrolled.
Many find the number of Latino students pursuing higher education as disappointing, and the report, DATOS, outlined a few initiatives to encourage Hispanic students to attend college.
One program was the AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute. They hope the program will help Hispanic students prepare for the difficulty of completing college coursework. The program also includes education on community leadership, self-esteem, and civic engagement.
The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hopes that programs like AGUILA will encourage students of Hispanic descent to consider higher education as a viable option for the future.