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Indiana’s Latino Student Task Force is working for educational equity

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Indianapolis, Indiana – According to Indiana statistics, there are not enough Hispanic college applicants.

A new task force is now taking action to alter that.

“We’re all aware that Latinos are the fastest-growing group. We’re on pace to be the biggest minority group in the state of Indiana,” said José Medina, the director of business and community engagement at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education reports that 43 percent of enrolled Hispanic students are from the United States. That is less than the 53% state average rate.

“I really want to see those metrics really jump up and make a significant difference, see those percentage points for students enrolling in college, Latino and Hispanic students, grow at a significant rate,” said Medina.

They have formed a Latino Student Task Force in collaboration with the nonprofit Indiana Latino Institute to boost enrollment and graduation rates.

To provide these students, regardless of their circumstances, with access to higher education, the association seeks to exchange best practices and methods with universities.

“Working with our philanthropic partners that have those means and have those scholarships available, It’s kind of pivoting, and being like, ‘Hey, these are some other opportunities that are available for you that you can qualify for to make sure that it is not a detour or a deterrent to go to college,’” said Medina.

Rachel Santos works for the Indiana Latino Institute as the director of strategic partnerships and education policy.

Parents and students need to ask questions, according to her.

“Do you have a director of Latino student success? Do you have a scholarship for 21st Century Scholar students? Do you have scholarships for undocumented students? Ask those questions. It’s ok to ask those questions, and the institutions should be ready to respond,” said Santos.

According to Santos, the Commission will be presented with these best practices at the May Indiana Civil Rights Commission Meeting the following year.

“This task force is one example of leaders coming together to say that we will not ignore the student population,” Santos said. “This is the future of our state and we’re going to support them to be successful.”

To ensure that institutions are equipped to satisfy the needs of Hispanic students, the task group says they will also be closely collaborating with them.

 

 

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