Publication Date

April 2018

Author(s)

Julia Barnard, Jess Dorrance, and Lucy Gorham

Client/Funder

UnidosUS

To provide context to existing data regarding higher education and its impact on the finances and wealth-building abilities of Latinos and their families, the UNC Center for Community Capital and UnidosUS partnered to conduct 30 in-depth interviews across six different cities.

Both young and fast-growing, the Latino population in the U.S. is enrolling in higher education in increasing numbers. Over the past decade, the rate of enrollment in higher education for Latinos ages 18 to 24 years old has increased by 15 percentage points, from 24% to 39%. During this same time, the average annual cost of college has more than doubled, leading students to knit together college funds from many sources, including grants, scholarships, income from jobs, and assistance from family.

The decision to take out student loans has lasting implications for students and their families, especially if students are unable to complete their degree and have difficulty repaying their debt. Hispanic students are less likely than White students to complete their postsecondary program and are at greater risk of falling behind on loan repayment. To provide context to existing data regarding higher education and its impact on the finances and wealth-building abilities of Latinos and their families, the UNC Center for Community Capital and UnidosUS partnered to conduct 30 in-depth interviews across six different cities.

While this cohort of interviewees fared much better in the higher education system than many Latinos do today, as nearly all completed their degree, most benefited from programmatic or institutional supports, some continued on to earn graduate degrees, and many have annual incomes over the median for Latinos as a whole. However, their stories still illuminate the tradeoffs, costs, and benefits that Latino students experience in their pursuit of higher education. They also highlight the necessity of strong support networks at school and at home, and how programmatic interventions could better help Latino students complete college.


Media Mentions

“UnidosUS Unveils New Report on The Latino Experience in Higher Education,” UnidosUS News Release, April 2018

“Más latinos se endeudan para lograr título universitario,” La Opinión, April 2018

“Más del 30% de latinos no terminan universidad y generan fuerte deuda,” Hoy Los Angeles, April 2018

“Study Tackles Issues of Latino College Access, Completion,” Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, May 2018


Topics(s): Economic Mobility, Financial Inclusion, Financial Services Industry, Higher Education, Student Loan Debt