Latinos encouraged to attend college

Encouraging Latinos to Attend College,.
Michael Hyland, mhyland@whsv.com, WHSV Mar 27, 2009

Weyers Cave, Va - Local educators are trying to encourage more Hispanic students to complete high school and continue on to college.

Latino students from five local high schools met at Blue Ridge Community College Thursday.

Educators say some immigrant parents don't understand the process for college admissions in the United States and won't push their children to pursue higher education. Also, if families haven't become citizens, students can be charged out-of-state tuition.

The Pew Hispanic Center studies this issue. In 2007, it looked at adults 25 and older and found just over 12 percent of Hispanics were college graduates, achieving at least a bachelor's degree. That's compared to about 30 percent of the white population and almost half the Asian population.

"The more we as a community advocate for, provide for, and are able to meet the needs of our most vulnerable in our society, it makes the entire community stronger. It makes everyone stronger," says Rick Castaneda, a teacher at Harrisonburg High School and member of the Hispanic Services Council.

Among other things, students also learned about financial aid opportunities specifically for Latinos.

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