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Clearing a Path For Latino Scientists

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from Improving Transfer Access to STEM

Credit: USC Rossier School of Education

A recent University of Southern California (USC) study found that although the number of Latinos earning bachelor's degrees has increased over the last decade, the growth has been disproportionate in fields other than science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

The study found that Hispanic-serving institutions (HSI) produce 40 percent of all Latino bachelor's degree recipients but only 20 percent of STEM graduates. The discrepancy can be attributed to "the fact that HSIs have been chronically underfunded in the distribution of federal STEM research dollars, which has limited their capacity to offer the undergraduate research opportunities that are known to attract and retain students in the sciences," the report says.

Community colleges are the dominant institution for Latino students: Nearly three in five Hispanic students in postsecondary education attend a two-year college, a far greater proportion than for any other racial or ethnic group. So to the extent that Latinos are underrepresented among bachelor's degree recipients in STEM fields, increasing the flow of STEM students from community colleges to four-year institutions—and better ensuring the success of those who go on to HSIs—is likely to be the best way to attack that deficit, the report argues.

From Inside Higher Ed
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Abstracts Copyright © 2010 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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