Indianapolis Star
January 29, 2004

Latino enrollment in colleges may surge

                By Steve Giegerich
                Associated Press
                    With Latinos graduating from high school in numbers that will keep increasing for
                years, the head of a higher education group that released a new report on the trend
                says colleges need to step up efforts to accommodate the nation's largest minority.
                    The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education projects that Latinos
                will account for 21 percent of the country's public high school graduates in 2008, up
                from 17 percent in 2002.
                    "In general, colleges are still not prepared," said David Longanecker, executive
                director of the interstate commission. Its report, "Knocking at the College Door," is
                released every five years and is used by local school districts, states and higher
                education to track enrollment trends.
                    Using data compiled from the nation's leading test-makers, the U.S. census and
                other sources, the WICHE study projects a significant regional shift in the school-age
                population to the South and West.
                    In 2007-08, Southern states are expected to enroll 16.7 million students in
                kindergarten through high school. WICHE said enrollment in Western schools will be
                11.9 million in 2007-08, followed by 10.8 million in the Midwest and 9.3 million in the
                    Because of continuing gains in Latino enrollment, the report said, white students
                will represent a minority of graduates from Western high schools in 2013-14.
                    Latinos often bring special circumstances to school, said Richard Fry, a senior
                research associate with the Pew Hispanic Trust.
                    Latinos are less likely to attend college full time and are more likely to work so
                they can provide financial support to dependents, Fry said.
                    "In order to help these students receive degrees, . . . you have to help them
                negotiate their work lives, their family lives, as well as their academic lives," Fry said.