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Latino Higher Education and Immigration-Related Factors - Washington State

Page history last edited by Ariel Ruiz 10 years, 7 months ago

Note: please note that this page should (a) link back to the issue overview on this topic, (b) be focused either the local, state, national, or global level, and (c) be neutrally presented, based on facts, and include footnotes for each of the items.  See the Research Guide and Information Sources to assist you. 


Related issue overview: Latino Higher Education and Immigration - Related Factors



Scope of the Problem  factual statements on the extent of the problem in the past, current, or future

  • As the fastest growing minority population in Washington State, the Latino population in K-12 schools has grown by 372 percent since 1986.[1]

  • Latino students comprised 14.6% of the K-12 population in Fall 2007, and are expected to experience a 150% growth in population by 2030. [2]

  • Alarmingly, only 56.9% of Washington Latino students in the 2005 cohort graduated from high school and less than 25% graduated college-ready.[3]

  • While only 7.7% of caucasian parents have less than a high school diploma, 43.8% of Latino parents did not graduate from high school, which translates into low income and high poverty rates.[4]

  • It is imperative in this global and education-based economy that all students have de facto access to the equal public education that is guaranteed de jure in the national community, both for the well being of the individual and the economic advantage of an educated work force – since nearly 20 percent of kindergartners in Washington State are Latino, in less than 20 years the work force will consequently be comprised of one Latino for every 4 non-Latino individuals.[5] 

  • Latinos living in the states with a in-state tuition policy were 1.54 times more likely to enroll in college after the enactment of the policies compared to students in states without such legislation.[1]


Past Policy  key legislation and milestones including significant policy and funding shifts, major studies, etc.

  • H.B. 1079 - Introduced by Representative Phyllis Gutierrez-Kenney (D-Seattle) and Governor Gary Locke signed House Bill 1079 into law May 7, 2003. (See bill)

    • The signing of this bill allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities beginning July 1, 2003.[2]

    • Amends definition of resident students of Washington State as defined in RCW 28B.15.012, thereby allowing qualifying undocumented students to pay in-state tuition prices[3]

    • However, this law does not allow undocumented students eligibility for need-based state financial aid.

    • As of May 2010, Texas, New York, California, Washington, Utah, Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Wisconsin passed similar legislation that allows undocumented students (with similar qualifications) to pay in-state tuition. [4]


Current Policy  summary of current policies in the form of legislation, programs, and funding

  • H.B. 1706 (See Bill)  - Introduced in 2009 by Representative Dave Quall (D - Mt. Vernon) and reintroduced in 2010 to Washington State Legislature but has yet to be passed.  

    • If passed, would extend state need-based financial aid eligibility to resident students as defined in RCW 28B.15.012 (2) (e), namely “HB 1079” students in the state of Washington[5]


  • The WSU Tri-Cities GEAR UP grant currently manages the One Vision and Harvest of Hope Partnerships which provide over $23 million towards early intervention efforts for cohorts of students in local school districts with more than 50% of students eligible for free or reduced lunches.[6]

  • GEAR UP efforts are shifting from dropout prevention to an emphasis on academic rigor through the Partnership's support of AVID elective classes, Literacy First, tutoring services, summer programs, and remedial classes.[7]

  • The Walla Walla School District will pioneer a new case management program, Check and Connect, which provides individualized mentorship and accountability to students and their families.[8]

  • Abriendo Puertas, a program developed by Texas A&M University, focuses on acculturating new families with limited English proficiency that have moved into the school district into the school system and has achieved limited success due to lack of bilingual staff.[9]


Key Organizations/Individuals   contacts for public and private organizations and key individuals

  • Government
    • Washington State GEAR UPhttp://www.gearup.wa.gov/ — This website provides information for students, parents, and educators on the college planning and application process, as well as reports documenting the achievements of GEAR UP's programs. 
    • Washington State University and Tri-Cities GEAR UPhttp://gearupserv.tricity.wsu.edu/v3/

      Learn more about the Harvest of Hope and One Vision Partnerships that currently fund the GEAR UP programs in Eastern Washington. The site includes a news feed of local projects that are facilitating academic preparation and awareness of higher education in its partner school districts.

    • Higher Education Coordinating Board. http://www.hecb.wa.gov/collegeprep/gu/guindex.asp 

  • Non-Profit - Service Providing
    • www.WALatinos.org

      • Edited by other Whitman students engaged in local research in the fields of education, neighborhood improvement, voting rights, and farm workers' rights, the Washington Latinos blog provides a comprehensive view of recent discoveries and conversations about the state of Washington State for[6] Latinos.   
      • My full research and an executive summary can be found here, along with more research addressing inequalities for Latinos in Washington State in issues such education, health care, and civic engagement, among other topics.  This is the only current research being conducted that addresses social inequalities for Latinos in Washington. 
  • Non-Profit - Advocacy/Membership/Network 
    • Latino/a Educational Achievement Project

      • All students will graduate from high school with the skills, knowledge and confidence needed for success in postsecondary education or in today's information age and technology-driven workplace.
  • Foundation
    • Latino Community Fund (LCF)
      • LCF improves the lives of Latino children, youth, and families by strengthening innovative programs in health, education, community and economic development.
    • Alianza Student Coalition

      • Creating a support system that unites Latino/a, Chicano/a, Hispanic, and other students to advance in our education and empower ourselves as leaders as we work together to strengthen our community.
    • Washington Dream Act Coalition
      • "Our mission is to link, aid and empower organizations, communities and individuals across the state of Washington to come together and find new ways to raise awareness on Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the Dream Act by means of grassroots organizing, alliance building and non-violent direct action and civic engagement. "
  • Other
    • blog.WALatinos.org/

      • This is a blog where Whitman students engage in dialogue about this and similar research.  If you have questions or comments or are curious to see what my classmates and I are doing with our research, check us out!


Bibliography   web sites, reports, articles, and other reference material 




  1. 23. Stella M. Flores, "In-State Tuition and Access to Scholarship for Undocumented College Students" (Paper Submitted to the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity, The University of California, Berkeley)
  2. Latino/a Educational Achievement Project. "House Bill 1079". 2006.
  3. http://www.leg.wa.gov/pub/billinfo/2003-04/Pdf/Bills/House Bills/1079.pdf
  4. Ruiz, Ariel. "The Future of Children of Immigrants: A Study of Latino Higher Education Aspirations and Abilities." December 18,2009. pg. 27.
  5. Washington State House of Representatives, House Bill 1706, 61st Legislature, Introduced January 27, 2009
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