Issues in Higher Education

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As the Hispanic population in the United States grew over the last ten years, colleges experienced increased enrollments of the same. As with any significant enrollment increase, colleges attempted to find ways to increase student retention rates, especially that of minorities. Mercy College is one institution that experienced significant growth in their Hispanic student enrollment, along with it success in retaining this group of students (Stern, 2010). In part, their success was credited to the following: A combination of factors, including training faculty to be sensitive to the needs of minority students, creating financial aid packages that limit the size of loans necessary to attend and developing academic services that help students who are having problems rather than letting them swim or sink (Stern, 2010, p. 1). Stern (2010) pointed out that faculty and staff at Mercy College understood the needs of their Hispanic student population, and therefore could develop and impose suitable programs such as “Assigning each freshman an academic advisor who stays with that person the entire four years helps personalize the school”(p. 1). Rivera (2010) discussed a new approach to minority student retention mandated by California State University’s Board of Trustees. The college experienced low minority student retention rates and inferred it was necessary to take a bold step in requiring students to decide on a major earlier in their academic career (Rivera, 2010). Also, the college was charged with developing a plan whereas “Students will be given more individualized support such as counseling, more information about required course work and resources such as online tracking of their progress”(Rivera, 2010, p. A.5). Although members of faculty were concerned the new plan would lessen academic benchmarks, the intent of the new plan was to create self-directed student learners (Rivera, 2010). However, Parker (2010) believed that to create self-directed...
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