/ Modified apr 16, 2015 7:05 p.m.

Latino College Success Key to Arizona Future: Educator

Thrive, not just survive, is theme at state universities, Board of Regents president says.

state of hispanic ed lunch spot The Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce State of Education luncheon. (PHOTO: Mariana Dale, AZPM)

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Arizona education leaders said Thursday that while there are still significant challenges for Hispanic students, they are increasing in numbers among incoming college classes.

eileen klein portrait luncheon Arizona Board of Regents President Eileen Klein is pictured at the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce luncheon. (PHOTO: Mariana Dale, AZPM)

“It’s important that we make all students successful because as go our Hispanic students, so goes the future of this state,” said Arizona Board of Regents President Eileen Klein.

Klein was the featured speaker at a Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce State of Hispanic Education luncheon.

“We felt it was important to put a spotlight on some of the lagging educational attainment numbers by the Latino community as compared to the general population,” said Chamber President and CEO Lea Márquez-Peterson.

For example, in Arizona fewer Hispanic high school graduates attend college than the general population. Of those who do, 10 percent finish a four-year degree, according to statistics from the Board of Regents.

At the same time, the level of diversity at state universities is increasing. Klein said the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University registered their most diverse freshman classes last year.

“We’ve ended the days where it’s 'look to your left and look to your right and whoever survives, survives,'” Klein said. “ All three universities now have a commitment that they are dedicated to getting them (students) through.”

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