The Future of Higher Education is LatinoApr 29, 2021
Today's day 15,105, the average lifespan of a human being is only 28,000 days. Every day must count. Every day must be worthwhile. If you've been following the podcast up to now, you know that we've been talking about our future and how to best attain that future. Today we're going to be talking about the future of higher education. It is Latino.
There is a marked shift in demographics occurring not only in one country but throughout the Americas. The numbers are compelling. If you take a look at total enrollment in higher education today, it stands at 17.5 million in the United States, and that is on the decline, declining from a high of 19 million only two years ago. But-there is one demographic that is outperforming all others, and that is the Latino community. The Latino community is growing by leaps and bounds, and it's undeniable.
Currently in the United States today, there are 7 million College aged Latinos. And if you look at Latin America and you add all of that piece, there are 79 million Latinos that are college aged in Latin America. Currently, there are 3.27 million enrolled in College in the United States today. This represents the fastest growing segment and the largest segment of growth in American higher education. If you look at the numbers we just went over, we can grow this pie exponentially if there are only 17 million in college enrolled today across all demographics, this means that the Latino community alone could exponentially double the amount, triple the amount even quadruple the amount of people currently enrolled in college today. In order to achieve that, well, we need a marked shift in the way higher education works. We must change the models. We must change the culture, the traditions, and, quite frankly, the way things have been done up to now, this is a new community that needs to be served in a different way.
There are marked shifts in higher education today. Our discussion on day 15,105, is squarely about this topic. We've assembled an amazing panel of individuals that will be speaking on the matter from various perspectives, people who have written extensively on the topic, who have their PhDs, who have been in higher education, and others who know the numbers from a business perspective, from a nonprofit perspective. This is all part of an amazing conference, that is a very first on Clubhouse, where, you know, we record all of our podcasts. Educ8, a conference first of its kind on Clubhouse, and this is the kickoff to the Latino conversation.
College enrollment overall has been on the decline for years. According to the National Student Clearinghouse. There were 19.2 million students enrolled on campuses in the fall of 2015. Earlier in 2019, enrollment had dropped to 17.5 million at colleges across the US. About 73% of full time professors are white, compared to just under 5% who are Latino. That doesn't reflect the modern student body, not nationally, not internationally, little more than half of the undergraduate students are white and just under 20% and climbing are Latino.
Rafael, I know that you have a multinational background. You have been involved in the education field, from the business and organizational side of things, the numbers that you referenced.
Guest #1, Rafael Mojden:
I'm a dad. I'm in my late 30s. I have a daughter who is 16 months old, and I would say that she's no less Latino than I am just because her DNA is mixed with my wife. Statistically, according to her 23 and me, she's going to be less, Mexicana. But I don't think the number necessarily makes us identify differently with our culture. And I think that as we see those numbers progress and people are more and more similar as we go down the line. I think what we need to do is we need to recognize that the power of our culture, the work ethic that we're very famous for. It's going to allow us to have our kids change the narrative of the story when they get to the higher education that they're going to see in my daughter's case in 18 years when she gets to college. I know that it's going to look very different from the college that we're looking at now. And I'm just thankful to be a part of this group because I think some of those changes that are going to happen when she sees are going to be inspired by conversations that are had in these rooms here.
Hector H. Lopez (host):
Abigail, I must say, you are one of the most passionate people I know about subjects regarding education. I've heard you speak extensively. I know this is near and dear to your heart.
Guest #2, Dr. B. Abigail Tarango:
Me chiveo un poco, because you're generous and very sweet comment. It's something that really sustains me. It helps me. I had a dear friend remind me recently that for many years in my life, I did not like the sound of my voice and part of the space that you're creating for us here is that we give people voice. We've always had it. And it's exactly the leadership that you have Hector to gather and to create spaces that are intentional about having these conversations. And even more so when you are discussing statistical evidence and I will say that identity is a complex but beautiful topic. So the statistics you shared with us, while in fact have been true, I really want us to challenge the conversation regarding how the pandemic has affected us.
There is a large number of students that have gone missing, and in fact, those numbers of the significance are really mostly Latinos or people of color, rather not just Latinos people of color. So just to give you a quick snapshot here locally in El Paso Community College, I just got numbers this week where we are missing. I believe it's something like 8.9% enrollment and we have one of the highest enrollments in community colleges and when you look at that number, you know that it's predominantly Hispanic, Latinos. And, you know, predominantly when you drill down, it's mostly our brothers. So where are they and what's going on? And how are we going to make sure that we reach out to them so that they come back? And I bet that a lot of that has to do with the topic of cost. And we're going to be getting to that in the discussion today and the topic of just simple economics of higher education, which we need to talk about because it's one of the biggest problems within higher education today.
Hector H. Lopez (host):
We will tackle that issue. I want to go to Dr. Patrick Valdez, who has been at the table in terms of Hispanic serving institutions, designing what comes from that world and what the needs are. And so he's been there. He's been there at those talks, at those conversations, and he's been a leader.
Guest #3, Dr. Patrick Valdez:
Hector, thank you so much for having me and for sponsoring this. Most of my work has been in Access and Equity most nearly 25 years that I was in higher education. I had the honor of being both an academic Dean and also a chance to have a community college up in Townsville, New Mexico. And for me, the focus has always been on not only providing access to our students, but also how we retain them and how we work to graduate them. And that encompasses many of the things that you mentioned at the beginning, not only the enrollment numbers and the growth, but also once students get to our campuses, how do we retain them? And that includes wrap around services that not only involve outreach to the community but outreach to families and really educating students that are mostly first generation and mostly low income and come from a lot of the places where I came from. And so that encompasses not only the outreach, but also how we engage students on our campus, how we make them feel welcome, but also includes what you mentioned faculty right. And how do we increase faculty that are of color and making sure that we're not only addressing the needs of the students from the student services perspective, from a service side, but also from an academic side.
Hector H. Lopez (host):
Avishta your initial thoughts.
Guest #5, Avishta Seeras:
Hi, Hector, and everybody, thank you for inviting me to be a part of your panel. So I'd like to bring, I guess two layers to what has already been talked about. One is a very important one because first of all, Canada, I'm based in Canada, so I know this conversation is very much more based in the US, so I'd like to bring a couple of stats from Canadian perspective, and also another layer would be immigration. The stats are based on Canadian study permits that before the Pandemic, the government were issuing over 350,000 study permits. Over 55% of those would go only to Indian students and Chinese students. And I do know, as you mentioned yourself today and in your description that we have, there are over 79 million potential higher Ed students of Latin America. So it's very disappointing to see, based on the stats that a lot of the study permits do not go to Latin America.
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