Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Reports: Universities Helping Close Achievement Gap for Latino Students

Two new reports by The Education Trust recognize universities that are making the greatest strides in closing achievement gaps for Latino students.

The first study identifies San Diego State University and the University of Southern California for significantly increasing graduation rates among Latino students.

According to the report, the six-year graduation rate for Latino students who began school in 1996 was 31 percent. The rate for students who began in 2005 improved to 58.8 percent.  At USC, the graduation rate reached nearly the same level as white students.

The second study focuses exclusively on a case study of efforts to increase the graduation rate at California State University – Northridge. After Jolene Koester took the helm of the university in 2000, Latino graduation rates rose from 34 percent in 2005 to 42 percent in 2010.

The study noted that early on, Koester began discussions on campus about the university’s poor graduation rates. A working group was formed to study the data on graduation and retention rates.

A graduation task force was then assembled to study how to improve rates. The group recommended simplifying general education requirements and revamping academic advising. As a result, general education requirements were made more flexible.

Koester viewed this collaborative process as key to prompting change and said, “consistent agreement at the leadership level in both administration and in the faculty that we needed to change…it is the most important practice that a president and his or her leadership can have among themselves and hope for and build with their faculty leadership.”

Related Links:
 “Learning From High-Performing and Fast-Gaining Institutions,” Education Trust. (
-       “Leading Change: Increasing Graduation Rates at CSU-Northridge,” Education Trust.