An examination of financial aid strategies amongst Hispanic-serving institutions on the Texas border was conducted in order to support Latino students’ access and improve graduation rates nationwide.
Texas A&M, University of Texas (Brownsville, El Paso, Pan American), Laredo Community College, Texas Southmost College, El Paso County Community College District and South Texas College participated. They have increased access during challenging economic times and are implementing strategies to accomplish this feat.
Some key finds:
• Most Latinos need to work while in college which constraints their ability to stay in school.
• Federal financial aid is critical, 75% in the Texas study relied on it since there is an aversion to borrowing for an education.
Some Effective Financial Aid Strategies
• Guaranteed need-based scholarships was viewed as a powerful retention tool.
• Campus-based work study programs allow student to work and earn income to stay in school so more effort has to be made to create these jobs.
• Offer emergency loans an installment/payment plans
• Early college high school and dual enrollment programs allow students to earn college credits while in high school at a lower expense to the student
In conclusion, understanding what influences Latino students’ financial aid choices and which institutional practices are effective in enrolling, retaining, and graduating Latino students is directly relevant to other institutions that are only beginning to experience growth in the number of their non-traditional students.