young Latinos and the decision to pursue college

According to a new report by my friend and former colleague Mark Hugo Lopez, “Nearly three-quarters (74%) of all 16- to 25-year-old [Latinos] who cut their education short during or right after high school say they did so because they had to support their family.” Almost ninety percent of Latinos “say that a college education is important for success in life,” a higher rate than in the population as a whole. Yet Latinos’ actual college attendance rates are low, and their expectations of going to college are not much higher. (Only 48% “say that they themselves plan to get a college degree.”) It sounds as if a significant part of the problem is a tradeoff between the short-term necessity of contributing to family income versus the long-term need for higher education. This is a trap if there ever was one.

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