Category Archives: Postsecondary Education

College-Bound Children of Immigrants

Though the nation’s financial woes and other recent changes have left net Mexican migration to the US at around zero, past decades have seen rapid growth in the population of immigrants, including children and adolescents who are now approaching adulthood. Of the more than 68 million young adults in the US in 2010, about 30 percent were foreign-born or had foreign-born parents. Moreover, young adults made up about half of the estimated 11.6 million undocumented immigrants in 2008.

As these young people prepare to enter the labor market, those who are undocumented often experience greater adversity, even though many have grown up on US soil. Future of Children author Marcelo Suarez-Orozco tells NBC Latino that immigrant parents are motivated to offer their children better opportunities, but those who are undocumented are blocked from access to supports and services that children could benefit from. For example, Silvia Rodriguez, who immigrated to the US with her parents at age two, learned what it meant to be undocumented as she prepared for college. “When it came time to apply for scholarships and financial aid, that was the moment it really, really hit me,” she said.

Future of Children authors Robert T. Teranishi, Carola Suárez-Orozco, and Marcelo Suárez-Orozco argue that increasing immigrant children’s educational attainment and economic productivity should be a national priority and that community colleges are an important means to this goal. They suggest outreach programs to help prospective students learn about the application and financial aid processes. They also argue that researchers and community colleges should collaborate to find and implement the most effective strategies for intervention programs. For the latest research on this topic, see the Future of Children issues on Immigrant Children and the Transition to Adulthood.

Underprivleged Youth and the College Dream

Written by Jonathan Wallace, Managing Editor.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, underprivileged youth who achieve their dream of enrolling in college too often end up with crushing debt and no degree to show for it. In fact, Future of Children author Susan M. Dynarski tells the Times, the gap between the share of poor Americans who earn a bachelor’s degree and the share of affluent Americans who do so has grown dramatically in the past 30 years. So despite an increase in access to college for the poor and minorities, the Times concludes, college is actually serving to perpetuate social stratification rather than enhance social mobility. Dynarski weighs in on “Financial Aid Policy: Lessons from Research” in the Future of Children‘s forthcoming issue on postsecondary education, scheduled for release on May 7, 2013.