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New College Board Report: Latino College Completion Rate at Only 19.2%, National at 41.1%

Fastest Growing Segment of Students Lags Behind National Average. College Board Advocacy & Policy Center Offers Real Solutions to Address Crisis
College Board Report

College Board President and former West Virginia Governor Gaston Caperton, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Miami Dade College President Eduardo J. Padron.

Miami, September 30, 2011 - Despite an important demographic shift across the United States, a limited proportion of Latinos are earning college degrees. While Latino youth now represent the largest minority group in K-12 U.S. schools and are the fastest-growing segment of students, Latino college completion stands at just 19.2 percent – far below the national average of 41.1 percent. 

These are just some of the findings from a new report released today by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center at an event at Miami Dade College (MDC), the institution of higher education awarding more degrees to minorities than any other in the U.S. College Board President and former West Virginia Gov. Gaston Caperton, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and MDC President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón were on-hand to discuss this critical issue. The College Completion Agenda Progress Report 2011: Latino Edition and The College Completion Agenda 2011:  State Policy Guide Latino Edition – developed in collaboration with the National Council of La Raza and Excelencia in Education – are especially relevant given the need for these students to obtain postsecondary degrees if our nation is to thrive socially and economically.

“This report is a call to action. Our nation will not become number one again in college completion unless we commit ourselves to giving these students the support they need to achieve their full potential,” said Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board.  “This study demonstrates that our students’ ability to succeed directly impacts our nation’s ability to thrive economically and socially.”

The report and state policy guide, combined with a dynamic interactive website, contain in-depth findings about the educational progress of Latino students and offer a series of recommendations for addressing the challenges they face. This effort builds on the College Completion Agenda that was launched in 2010, based on the recommendations from the College Board’s Commission on Access, Admissions and Success. The 10 interdependent recommendations span the pipeline, from early childhood to adult education, to reach the goal of increasing the proportion of Americans ages 25—34 with a postsecondary degree to 55 percent by 2025. 

“College completion is a national imperative. It is the key to improving our nation’s economy,” said Dr. Padrón. “Each additional person with a college credential has a significant multiplier effect on the economy. We are very pleased to report these findings at Miami Dade College.”

“The quality of education will determine the futures of our students and our nation,” said Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. “After partnering with the College Board, Florida’s participation and passage rates for rigorous college-preparatory courses skyrocketed, with the greatest gains coming from Hispanic students. But there is work to be done to ensure every student, regardless of background, zip code or parents’ salary level, is equipped with the knowledge and skills to succeed in today’s global economy. This effort by the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center moves us towards identifying real solutions to ensure that each and every student has the opportunity to reach his or her God-given potential.” 

“Latinos understand well the importance of higher education and for many it is the most accessible method to making the ‘American dream’ a reality, said Delia Pompa, vice president for education at the National Council of La Raza. “At NCLR, we are working hard to change the trend indicated in this policy guide so that more young people in the Latino community have the opportunity to attend college.”

“Increasing Latino college completion is critical to meeting the nation’s goals of educational attainment and these publications highlight not only the current condition but offer states a guide of policy efforts to improve Latinos’ educational progress to completion,” said Deborah Santiago, co-founder and vice president of Excelencia in Education. “Excelencia in Education is proud to partner with the College Board and NCLR to inform these strategies as part of the College Completion Agenda.”

The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center in partnership with Miami Dade College, hosted a roundtable discussion on the contents of the reports and what is needed most to advance educational success for the Latino students. Distinguished roundtable participants, moderated by Alberto Ibarguen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, included:

  • Frank Brogan, Chancellor, State University System of Florida
  • Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent, Miami Dade County Public Schools

·         Richard Duran, Report Advisory Committee Representative

·         Florida State Senator Anitere Flores, Legislative Advisory Committee Representative

·         Florida State Representative Erik Fresen, Legislative Advisory Committee Representative

·         John Lee, Director of Policy, College Board Advocacy & Policy Center

·         Jorge Plasencia, CEO, República

·         Deborah Santiago, Vice President, Excelencia in Education

·         Christopher Starratt, Vice President for Mission and Institutional Effectiveness, Barry University

Also in attendance were:

·         Jeb Bush, Former Governor of Florida

·         Gaston Caperton, College Board President

·         Eduardo J. Padrón, Miami Dade College President

An in-depth policy discussion on the findings of the report will be held on Oct. 6, 2011 at 10 a.m., in Washington, D.C.

The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center was established to help transform education in America. Guided by the College Board’s principles of excellence and equity in education, the Center works to ensure that students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to succeed in college and beyond. Critical connections between policy, research and real-world practice are made to develop innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges in education today. Drawing from the experience of the College Board’s active membership consisting of education professionals from more than 5,900 institutions, priorities include: College Preparation & Access, College Affordability & Financial Aid, and College Admission & Completion.

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) — the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States — works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. Through its network of nearly 300 affiliated community-based organizations, NCLR reaches millions of Hispanics each year in 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. To achieve its mission, NCLR conducts applied research, policy analysis, and advocacy, providing a Latino perspective in five key areas — assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health. In addition, it provides capacity-building assistance to its affiliates who work at the state and local level to advance opportunities for individuals and families.

Founded in 1968, NCLR is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan, tax-exempt organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. NCLR serves all Hispanic subgroups in all regions of the country and has regional offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and San Antonio.

Excelencia in Education accelerates Latino student success in higher education by linking research, policy, and practice and by promoting education policies and institutional practices that support Latino student achievement. Excelencia is building a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address the U.S. economy’s need for a highly educated workforce and engaged civic leadership.

Miami Dade College is the nation’s largest institution of higher education with an enrollment of more than 174,000 students. It is the nation’s top producer of Associate in Arts and Science degrees and awards more degrees to minorities than any other college or university in the country. The college’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer more than 300 distinct degree programs including several baccalaureate degrees in education, public safety, supervision and management, nursing, physician assistant studies, film and  engineering, among others, and its academic and workforce training programs are models of excellence. MDC has served nearly 2,000,000 students since it opened its doors in 1960.


College Board contact:  Carly Lindauer, director of advocacy communications,, 212-713-8052

Newlink America contact: Eva Mejicanos, account executive,, 305 961-7606

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

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