Closing the Hispanic Graduation Gap

Recent survey shows Biola is anomaly among college and university Hispanic retention rates

Apr. 14, 2010 By Jenna Bartlo

Too many four-year colleges and universities are graduating fewer than half of their Hispanic students, according to a recent survey of national college graduation data by the American Enterprise Institute. However, this is not the case for Biola University, which shows an outstanding six-year graduation rate of 71 percent among Hispanics compared to 69 percent for white students.

The survey shows that 51 percent of Hispanic students who start college complete a bachelor’s degree in six years — compared to 59 percent of white students. The AEI researchers noted that colleges and universities cannot blame the low percentage rates on students because of the amount of variables such as institutional practices and policies that influence a student’s experience at a university.

"These data show quite clearly that colleges and universities cannot place all of the blame on students for failing to graduate," AEI researcher Andrew Kelly said.

Biola has dramatically improved the student retention rate of Hispanic students through focusing on all students and the socio-cultural needs of diverse students.

"I have been tracking Latino retention for some time now and the improvement in this area is great affirmation of all that Biola has done over the last several years to address the academic and socio-cultural needs of diverse students and to create a campus climate where all students are able to succeed," said Pete Menjares, Biola University associate provost for diversity leadership.

Biola also launched a new Retention Council last spring in order to be strategic in ensuring all students graduate. The AEI research showed that universities and colleges who focused on all students, rather than focused efforts towards minorities specifically, had higher rates overall and in minority graduation rates — something Biola has succeeded in.

“Students make a connection here, and they want to stay and graduate,” Biola director of academic advising and student retention, Carrie Stockton said in an interview with the Whittier Daily News. “Biola provides the opportunity for students to have a Christ-centered way of thinking about spiritual issues, and that’s meeting a need for students.”

Read the full story in Whittier Daily News article, “Area colleges graduating higher percentage of Hispanic students,” featuring Biola.

Also, read the Whittier Daily News editorial, “Pay attention to minority grad rates,” highlighting the significance of Biola’s retention rates.

Written by Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator. Jenna can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at


  • Ned Jan. 10, 2016 at 10:12 PM

    I find it sad that Biola needs to focus on RACE at the expense of another RACE. According to my Bible, we are ALL part of the HUMAN RACE. BY constantly focusing on RACE and playing one RACE off another, makes you no different than a secular college or university. By separating people out by RACE, doesn't allow students to assimilate and become part of the melting pot.

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