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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Latino Student Eligibility and Participation in the University of California: Report Number One of the Latino Eligibility Task Force


Less than 4% of Latino high school graduates are fully eligible for admission to the university compared to an overall overage of 12.3%. This profound underrepresentation distinctly threatens the economic and social fabric of our state and nation, especially because the Latino population is growing at a much faster rate than any other ethnic group. Present projections indicate that Latinos will be majority of high school graduates in California a decade from now.

Too often a complex phenomenon such as eligibility is understood on either naïve or imperfect grounds. This type of popular wisdom often reaches mythic proportions. Popular misunderstanding of Latino student eligibility and participation is a case in point. Thus, this report outlines a set of key myths about Latino students and their families and uses existing information to challenge those myths.

Even at this early stage of Task Force activities, there is a sense of urgency in calling for action on the part of the university to improve the representation of Latino students. The issues surrounding eligibility are complex, however, and substantive solutions will require both short-and longer-term Task Force efforts, as well as institution resolve and responsiveness. The Task Force strategy will be to address these issues by analyzing existing data and studies; conducting original research beginning with action-oriented mini-studies and an “anchoring” study; and sponsoring symposia and conferences. By these means, the Task Force will highlight problems and identify policy and procedural solutions to the eligibility crisis.

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