The Hispanic population of the US is about 44. 3 million (as on 1st July, 2006), making them the largest minority group in the US, even surpassing the African-American communities. They make up 15 % of the US population, and hence it is important to fulfill their needs. Besides, the Hispanic population is one of the largest growing in the US, with more than one million members being added every year. This gives education and even greater importance.
Between the years 2005 to 2006, the Hispanic population grew by about 3.4 %. By the year 2050, the Hispanics would constitute about a quarter of the US population. The US currently is the third largest holder of Hispanic groups, following Mexico (more than a 100 million) and Columbia (more than 43 million). The US (about 42. 7 million) has surpassed Spain recently (about 40. 3 million), and is challenging Columbia for the second place. The Hispanic population is one of the youngest in the US. The median age of this segment is about 27 years, compared to the national average of about 36 years.
The states that hold the largest Hispanic population include California (13. 1 million) and Texas (8. 4 million). The other states the hold significantly large numbers of Hispanics include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, New York, etc. More than 62 % of the Hispanic population in the US is below the age of 18 years. Most of the Hispanic populations reside as large families. About 60 % of the Hispanic populations in the US have achieved at least a High School education and about 12 % have achieved at least a Graduate degree.
About 800, 000 Hispanics have at least a masters degree or higher. Comparatively, the Hispanic groups are one of the largest educated communities with relation to the minority groups in the US, but may be lacking education as compared to the White population (US Census, 2006). Community colleges or ‘county colleges’ are educational institutions that provide certificates, diplomas, associate degrees and tertiary education. The local community of a particular region forms a community college by providing funds.
A community college would usually attract students from the local community. In cities, the municipal corporations will usually fund the community colleges. Several processes in the past such as industrialization, urbanization and economic development have helped in the growth of the community college. In the US, more than one thousand community colleges are existent. A majority of them are public institutions and about 20 % belong to minority and impendent associations. A total of about 11. 6 million students are enrolled in these colleges.
About 60 % are enrolled part-time, and about 49% are enrolled full-time. About 6. 6 million students are enrolled in credit programs and about 5 million in non-credit programs. The average of the students in the community colleges is about 29 to 30 years. About 40 % of the student below is below 21 years, and more than 16 % is above the age of 40 years. Hispanics are present in about 14 % of the community college population. The African-American students enrolled in Hispanic colleges are almost of the same proportion.
Women outnumber the men in the community colleges in the ratio of 6: 4. About 55 % of the Hispanic students are undergraduates (Avalos & Pavel, 1993 & AACC, 2006). With regards to the Hispanic population in the US, it is seen that the community college is one of the preferred means of education for this community. They provide an access for students to gain an entry into further education in the American system. Hispanics prefer an inexpensive and relevant method of teaching, and the characteristics of community college education do provide so.
More than 50 % of the Hispanic student population who have attended college also would have been educated through community colleges in the past. Community colleges maintain close relationships with the communities they function in (Avalos & Pavel, 1993 & & AACC, 2006). Literature Studies conducted by Fields et al (1988) demonstrate that the two most important factors that help to retain the Hispanic students in the community colleges include financial support and academic help. The Hispanic populations that reside in the US basically belong to the lower socio-economic strata.
They migrate from several of the central and the South American nations such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, etc. About 64 % are from Mexico, 9 % from Puerto Rico, and 3. 5 % from Cuba. These populations find it very difficult to sustain in the US. Education may not be a priority for them. However, the working standards in the US do require that the Hispanic population be engaged in education so that they could be qualified for higher posts (Avalos & Pavel, 1993, & US Census Bureau, 2007).