By Benjamin Leeman

With another year underway at Eastern Illinois University, 2015 ratios are shedding light on enrollment statistics of Hispanic students to non-Hispanic students and the current lag behind other ethnicities in attending college.

Nomeli Vincente is of Puerto Ricon descent and is a family and consumer science major at EIU.  For every one Hispanic student at Eastern, there are 18 other students of ethnicities. Upon showing her this ratio, the first generation students explains how odd it is to contemplate.

Vincente grew up in Chicago where her neighborhood was mostly Hispanic.  “It’s hard to imagine.  You come from a place like Chicago where you’re the majority to then come here and become the minority,” she said.  Vincente expressed the importance of gaining experience of other ethnicities and finds the ratio disparaging.

The small numbers in Hispanic students sometimes cuts people, like Vincente, off from her culture and common interests.

Vincente explained how she tends to hang out with more Hispanics outside of class to share hobbies and their own culture.  Her major is also driven toward her ethnicity.  “It’s important to be bilingual for job opportunities.”

According to studies done by Pew Research, while high school dropout rates for Hispanics are declining, they are still less likely to attend a four-year college.

Since the Great Recession of 2008, job market opportunities have been dropping for newly graduated college students.  This takes away the importance of higher education for many people like those in the Hispanic community.  A 13 percent increase from 1993 shows Hispanic enrollment growing, however other groups are well ahead of them.

“Education is important to me and my family.  I want to break the cycle of education for my family,” said Vincente.

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