Starting college is incredibly important, and more Latinos than ever before are enrolling in our nation’s universities.
However, finishing college is just as important. Despite many years of increasing enrollment, there is still a wide gap between the number of Latinos and white students who go on to complete a bachelor’s degree.
The good news? According to a recent report by The Education Trust, USF Tampa was ranked fourth in the nation overall and the number one public university for eliminating the completion gap between Latino and white students!
How Does USF Ensure Latino Student Success?
It’s actually very simple. We believe:
- All students, regardless of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, can and will succeed if given the opportunity to do so
- Student success is everyone’s responsibility, from professors to advisors to dining hall staff
To support these beliefs, USF began implementing a variety of student success initiatives in 2009, including support programs and policy changes. Most recently, we began analyzing student data to find and help students in danger of dropping out. The results?
- USF Tampa’s graduation rate for Latino students in 2015 was 66.2 percent, exceeding the national average by 13 percent
- Latino students posted a three-point improvement in the achievement gap in the 2017-18 academic year
- USF Tampa’s six-year graduation rate for all students jumped from 47 percent in 2009 to 70 percent in 2018
With hard work and a laser focus on supporting at-risk students, we have successfully closed the graduation rate gap by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
Why Is This Important?
Increasing Latino employment success relies heavily on increasing the number of students who finish college. Simply attending college does not provide the benefits of completing a degree. Bachelor’s degree holders earn, on average, nearly $25,000 more annually than non-degree holders. They are also two times less likely to be unemployed and are more likely to vote and volunteer.
Nationally, just 17.8 percent of Latino adults, ages 25-34, hold a bachelor’s degree compared to 43.7 percent of young, white adults. Improving college completion rates for Latino students can go a long way toward fixing this inequality, and USF is proud to be leading the charge toward this goal.
USF Is Advancing Student Success for All Students
Our most recent recognition focused on initiatives that drive Latino student success, but USF has been recognized nationally for other student success initiatives.
- The Education Trust ranked the university as one of the nation’s top performers in black student success (No. 6) and among students who receive Pell Grants (No. 5)
- Education Dive awarded USF Tampa “Institution of the Year”
- Ruffalo Noel Levitz granted USF Tampa its “Retention Excellence Award”
- Eduventures bestowed its “2016 Innovation Award” on USF Tampa
- The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems named USF a national mentor university for Black and Latino student success and the Center for American Progress for “promoting access and success for all” students
About Jen Carlevatti
Jen Carlevatti is the former Associate Director of Communications for USF’s Office of Admissions. Currently, she is a freelance Content Developer for USF’s Office of Innovative Education. She enjoys writing blog articles that empower students and their families to successfully navigate the college admissions and financial aid processes.