Hispanic Students in Community Colleges

Nov 19, 2021 by

With the Hispanic population increasing across the county, Latino enrollment was on the rise prior to the pandemic. And while the pandemic has significantly hurt the number of Latinos applying to college, Latino community college presidents are optimistic about Latino enrollment in the near future because of its more affordable price tag and focus on career. As a result, some have asserted that community colleges will need to provide the necessary training so this population can reach their full earning potential and reduce the cycle of poverty (Chen, 2021).

Unfortunately, according to the Pew Research Center, the gap in the Latino STEM workforce isn’t currently narrowing. Meanwhile, the Hispanic-Serving Community Colleges STEM Pipelines (HSCC-STEM) study evaluated the transitions to and through Hispanic-serving two-year institutions for underrepresented minoritized STEM students concluding that of the total STEM degrees earned by Latinxs, 86% were awarded by HSCC institutions (Zamani-Gallaher, Yeo, Vélez, Fox, & Samet, 2019). The study indicates that traditional community colleges need to devise new strategies to appeal to the Hispanic population.  

Alcantar & Hernandez (2020) explain that since many community college students are first-generation college students, immigrant, low-income, and Latino, these students require human interaction, connection, care, investment, and authentic relationships in their college setting if they are to feel connected and supported in their academic goals. Therefore, if a higher education institution wants students to succeed and increase recruitment, retention and graduation rates they need to have strong mentorship programs and train instructors and staff on how to build relationships of trust with their first-generation students, regardless of the ethnicity.


How can community colleges become more accessible and appealing to Latino students? Can HSCCs increase their offerings?


Community college, Latino, Hispanic, Hispanic-Serving Community Colleges, minority students, first generation students, higher education leadership, college mentors


Alcantar, C. M., & Hernandez, E. (2020). “Here the professors are your guide, Tus guías”: Latina/o student validating experiences with faculty at a Hispanic-serving community college. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 19(1), 3–18. https://doi.org/10.1177/1538192718766234

Chen, G. (2021). More Latinos are heading to community college but facing challenges along the way. Community College Review. Retrieved from https://www.communitycollegereview.com/blog/more-latinos-are-heading-to-community-college-but-facing-challenges-along-the-way Zamani-Gallaher, E., H. T. Yeo, A. L. Vélez, H. L. Fox, and M. Samet. (2019). STEM completion at Hispanic-serving community colleges. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Office of Community College Research and Leadership. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED601015.pdf

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