Hope, Determination and Courage: 7 Inspiring Stories From First-Generation Latino Graduates

While Latino enrollment in two- and four-year colleges has risen from 22 percent in 1993 to 35 percent in 2014, many roadblocks still stand in the way for our community – meaning that Latinos lag behind Asians and whites when it comes to receiving a bachelor’s degree or higher. Low-income, first-generation students also face these barriers; only 11 percent graduate within six years. So the journey is especially difficult for first-generation Latino students.We wanted to learn more about how first-generation Latino students – those who are the first in their families to graduate – navigated these uncharted waters. We interviewed seven undergraduate and graduate students, 6 women and one man between the ages of 21 and 30, to understand what it takes to succeed at institutions that are often not equipped to support first-gen students. While their circumstances widely varied from one another, we found that they all credited their families and the connections they made during college as key to their success. Their stories are backed up by research, which shows that embracing cultural differences and the right kind of support can help first-generation Latino students thrive.This is how they beat the odds.

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Posted by Yasmin Acosta
Yasmin Acosta Launch Catalyst Yasmin Acosta