U.S. Department of Education, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics Release College Planning Resource Guide

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U.S. Department of Education, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics Release College Planning Resource Guide

October 11, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (Initiative) today released the ¡Gradúate! 2.0: A College Planning Guide to Success. The guide provides Hispanic students and families with information and resources to help navigate the process of going to college.

"This guide is a continuation of the historic investments the Obama Administration has made since day one to advance Latino student success from cradle to career," said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. "It will help us continue the dialogue on the importance of promoting a college going culture across the country."

Over the next decade, the share of jobs requiring some level of higher education is expected to grow even more rapidly, with 11 of the 15 fastest-growing occupations requiring a postsecondary education. In today's economy, higher education is a necessity for individual economic opportunity and America's competitiveness in the global economy.

  • College graduates with a bachelor's degree typically earn 66 percent more than those with only a high school diploma; and are also far less likely to face unemployment.
  • Over the course of a lifetime, the average worker with a bachelor's degree will earn approximately $1 million more than a worker without a postsecondary education.

The good news is that Latinos are graduating high school and enrolling in college at the highest rates in the country's history, and as of 2012, Latinos are the largest minority group in our nation's colleges and universities. Yet, only 23 percent of Hispanic adults age 25 and older have an associates degree or higher and only 12 percent have an advanced degree, such as a master's or doctorate. There is a growing need to support more Hispanic students in completing high school and pursuing postsecondary education. As such, the guide outlines the steps that students should take throughout high school leading up to their first day of college.

The guide includes:

  • Preparing for College: Provides key resources and information students may find helpful in high school and the early stages of the college application process. It also includes tips and tools when it comes time to research different types of colleges and universities and begin building a list of institutions to apply to.

  • Process of Applying & Enrolling: Once students build and narrow a list of colleges and universities, the guide provides students with information on the process of applying for colleges including what is required for a college application and tips about the different college entrance exams and fee waiver information.

  • Paying for College: Provides descriptions of the various financial aid resources available to help students pay for college and an understanding of the different types of financial aid awards and packages. This is in addition to the financial aid information found in the first edition of the Initiative's ¡Gradúate! Financial Aid Guide to Success.

  • Preparing for the First College Semester: Provides information that can help you navigate your first semester of college including what you should know about on and off campus living, summer orientation and placement tests.

"The release of the ¡Gradúate! 2.0 Guide is in honor of all the first generation college students who are paying it forward for the next generation of Latino leaders," said Alejandra Ceja, executive director for the Initiative. "It is a culturally relevant resource for students, families and educators that will help us ensure information does not become a barrier to enrolling and graduating from college."

In 2014, the Initiative released the first ever ¡Gradúate! Financial Aid Guide to Success in both English and Spanish. The guide provides helpful tips on filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and other key financial resources available to better support Hispanics, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and students who are not U.S. citizens, in their efforts to access a postsecondary education. In addition, fact sheets on College Access: Ensuring Equality of Opportunity for Latinos and College Completion: Ensuring Equality of Opportunity for Latinos are now available.

Pursuing high-quality postsecondary education is one of the most important investments a student can make, and is the surest path to the middle class in our country. Americans with college degrees are more likely to live healthier lives, be more civically engaged in their communities, have good-paying jobs, and experience greater job security. This country's students, families, and economic strength depend on a higher education system that helps everyone succeed. Achieving this goal requires making college more accessible and affordable—especially for historically underserved students—and ensuring that students graduate in a timely way with a meaningful degree that sets them up to thrive in careers and life.

That is why the Obama Administration has taken strong actions since 2009 to offset the rising costs of higher education, including expanding Pell Grants—federal financial aid offered to undergraduate students from lower-income families—and making student debt more manageable. As the Administration works to increase college opportunity, value, and affordability, we continue to see signs of progress in expanding opportunity for low-income and disadvantaged students. Black and Hispanic students earned over 270,000 more undergraduate degrees in 2013-14 than in 2008-09.There were a million more black and Hispanic students enrolled in college in 2014 than in 2008.

* The terms Hispanic and Latino are used interchangeably in this guide, while recognizing their distinctive demographic and cultural meanings.