Original URL: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/04/01/BAGRF5UIA91.DTL

Latinos unaware college aid available, researchers find
San Francisco Chronicle
April 1, 2004
Tanya Schevitz, Chronicle Staff Writer
Lack of information about opportunities undercuts education

2004 San Francisco Chronicle

Most Latino families do not know there is financial aid available for college, leaving them greatly underrepresented in higher education, according to a nationwide survey released Wednesday.

"There is a lot of misinformation or under-information in the Latino community," said Louis DeSipio, a research scholar for the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at the University of Southern California, which conducted the survey. "Latino households are more likely than other households to have no college exposure. There is an assumption that it is an almost impossible goal to achieve. It adds an extra barrier."

Latino students may not take the courses necessary for college entrance if they don't get information about financial aid until they are a few years into high school, he said.

The report was based on a telephone survey of 1,200 Latino parents of people age 18-24 and a separate sample of 1,200 Latino adults age 18-24.

While Latinos make up one-third of California's population, they total about 12 percent of the University of California's undergraduate and graduate enrollment and about 25 percent of the California State University enrollment.

The report, commissioned by the Sallie Mae Fund, a charity funded by student loan provider Sallie Mae, included several key findings:

-- 75 percent of potential college students who are Latino indicated they would have been more likely to attend if they had better information about financial aid.

-- More than two-thirds of Latino parents did not receive any financial aid information while their child was in grades K-12.

-- 43 percent of all Latino young adults surveyed and 51 percent of Latino parents reported they were not aware of even a single source of college financial aid. That compares with 18 percent for all young adults and 19 percent of all parents.

This fall, the Sallie Mae Fund will host a nationwide tour, holding 40 of its 135 financial aid workshops in Spanish on paying for college.

For the full report, see www.thesalliemaefund.org.E-mail Tanya Schevitz at

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