California schools are finding access to special government educational funds as the population of Hispanic students grows. Some Hispanic students who have transferred to certain schools recently have found a pleasant surprise in the form of assistance both financial and in study resources. 

Those benefits are the result of a $3 million U.S. Department of Education grant to a new program that seeks to bolster transfers of low-income and Latino students. The effort is focused on getting those qualifying students into majors for which there are many unfilled job opportunities after graduation, including accounting, animation, nursing and manufacturing systems engineering. 

This special funding program has prompted a rapidly rising number of colleges and universities in California and across the nation to enroll enough Latino students as to be listed as a Hispanic Serving Institution by two of the major organizations that represent Hispanics in higher education. To qualify for the designation, an institution must show that at least 25 percent of its full-time undergraduates have described themselves as Hispanic, Latino or other related terms.  

With 163 of its two and four year, public and private colleges and universities meeting the guidelines for Earning this designation, California leads all other states in schools receiving the funds. The designation is important to institutions as it allows them to compete for a variety of limited federal funds. The aide is encouraging more Latinos and low-income students to enter teaching careers. 

In addition to the funding, backers say that the Hispanic designation gives colleges a much-needed recruiting tool at a time when 51 percent of California high school graduates are Hispanic. For Latino families it adds a feeling of comfort to know that the school their children will attend will have a substantial Latino representation.  

Although this program is opening doors for Hispanic students, their ultimate success is still up to them. According to the data, there are still gaps in how many Latino’s enroll in college and how many go on to graduate. Hopefully those figures will soon change.