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In recent years, Latinos have made great strides in improving their overall “state” of education. The dropout rate for Latino high school students is at an all-time low (12% in 2014) and even more (35%) are finding their way into a two- or four-year college.
Despite all of this headway into education, Latinos often face unique barriers that prevent many from attaining a quality education. To help overcome these barriers, groups and organizations around the country have often sought out unique innovations to encourage more Latino engagement in education.
In Goshen, Indiana (29.12% Latino population), representatives for Goshen College developed a unique approach to encouraging Latino students to enroll and succeed at their university.
Richard Aguirre, the director of corporate and foundation relations at Goshen College, came up with the idea to create a college prep coach who would be able to work with potential Latino college students by helping them through the application process.
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He was able to achieve funding from the local Community Foundation of Elkhart County and worked out the “logistics” of the position by working with the Goshen Community Schools. The school board even approved paying the fringe benefits of the position for a year.
In August 2016, Goshen College graduate Marlette Gomez was hired as the first-ever college prep coach. She now works first-generation and Latino junior and senior high school students in the area (over 200, so far) helping them find scholarships, fill out financial aid forms, discussing career paths, and helping arrange college visits.
“I care about education, Goshen and the Latino community,” Gomez said in an interview with The Elkhart Truth. “It makes the work kind of effortless and enjoyable.”
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