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Executive Summary
The Context
for this Study
Enormous Diversity
Among Hispanic High
School Students
Obstacles to
College Attendance
and Completion
Success Stories
Afterword by
Deborah Wadsworth
Commentary by
Advisory Group
   Opening the
    by Arturo Madrid.

   Building a
   Consensus for
    by Alfredo G.
    de los Santos Jr.

   A Challenge and
   an Opportunity
   for Policy,
    by Marlene L. Garcia

   Low Expectations
   Equal Low
    by Jaime A. Molera

About the Author
About Public Agenda
About the National
Center for
Public Policy and
Higher Education

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The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, and Public Agenda, conducted focus groups in several states to better understand the gap between the high educational aspirations of Hispanic parents for their children and the low educational attainment of Hispanic students. The high parental aspirations were documented in an earlier report by the National Center and Public Agenda, Great Expectations: How the Public and Parents-White, African-American, and Hispanic-View Higher Education.

John Immerwahr moderated the focus groups and prepared this report, which is the most recent in a series of collaborative projects undertaken by Public Agenda and the National Center over the last decade. The series includes national and state public opinion surveys, focus groups, and interviews designed to inform policymaking and to answer basic questions about how the American public perceives and values higher education.

With Diploma in Hand summarizes findings from the focus groups and includes commentaries from national advisory committee members who helped to shape and interpret the project. The purpose of this report is to assist policymakers and educators to better understand the challenges facing Hispanic high school students who attempt, and often fail, to negotiate the maze of financial, organizational, and social obstacles to higher education.

The National Center would like to thank Marlene Garcia, Arturo Madrid, Jaime Molera, and Alfredo de los Santos Jr. for their support and guidance as advisors to the project, including attending focus groups throughout the country and listening to Hispanic students, teachers, and parents discuss their views of higher education. The National Center also thanks Deborah Wadsworth, president of Public Agenda, for her support and insight on this and the many other projects that our organizations have completed together. Her commitment to and respect for the intricate ways in which public views and values inform policymaking in America have contributed greatly to the work of the National Center.

The National Center welcomes the reactions of readers to this and other National Center reports.

Patrick M. Callan
National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education


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© 2003 The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education

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