LaGuardia Community College Graduates the Most Latinos at the Associate Level in New York

Long Island City, NY—April 29, 2014—LaGuardia Community College, which has in place a number of innovative initiatives designed to help its Latino students graduate, ranked number one in graduating Latinos at the associate level and second among bachelor’s and associate programs in New York in enrolling Latinos, according to a report by Excelencia in Education.

“LaGuardia Community College has searched far and wide for the most effective ways to educate our state’s most underserved students, from career contextualized GED prep with pathways into college to programs that take students’ undervalued assets, like heritage language, and polish them for use in their professions,” said Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia. “Latino college completion is important to LaGuardia and critical to our nation.”

Latinos represent LaGuardia’s largest ethnic group making up nearly half of the student body.

The Washington, D.C.-based national non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate Latino student success in higher education, released 63 separate fact sheets updating the current status of college completion among Latinos nationally, in each state, and in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

“Today’s release is one piece of an ongoing conversation we are leading among key stakeholders across America to empower them with data, evidence, proven tools and tested tactics with an intentional focus on increasing college success among Latinos,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. “Excelencia is providing this new analysis with support from the Ford Foundation and will be working over the coming months to activate and engage many sectors to step up to the challenge of addressing Latino students while meeting national college completion goals. We remain focused on the fact that for the U.S. to regain the top ranking in the world for college degree attainment, Latinos will need to earn 5.5 million more degrees by 2020.”

Excelencia in Education last released these fact sheets in 2012, and the new data reveal progress nationally, with the gap in graduation rates between Latinos and Whites across the United States dropping to 9 percent, compared to 14 percent two years prior.

While the detailed data varies from state to state, several trends emerge from Excelencia in Education’sresearch:

Latinos continue to be much younger than the national and state populations overall.

  • Nationally, the median age for Latinos was 27 compared to a median age of 42 for White, non-Hispanics.

Latinos’ are a larger share of the K-12 public school population than they are of national and state populations overall.

  • Nationally, Latino youth represent 22 percent of the K-12 public school population and 17 percent of the U.S. population overall.

Latino adults have lower degree attainment levels than other groups.

  • Nationally, 20 percent of Latino adults had a postsecondary degree compared to 36 percent of all adults in the U.S.

The graduation rates for Latinos are lower than that of White, non-Hispanics.

  • Nationally, the gap in degree attainment between Latino and White, non-Hispanic cohorts of first-time, full-time students was about 9 percent.

Latino College Completion in 50 States is a project of Excelencia in Education’s national initiative, Ensuring America’s Future by Increasing Latino College Completion, which brings together leaders from seven sectors to develop and provide specific tools and information to accelerate Latino degree attainment while serving all students. Begun in 2009, Ensuring America’s Future is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation for Education, the Ford Foundation, the Kresge Foundation and W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

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LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit to learn more.