The College Pathways of Foreign-Born and Native-Born Latina/o College Students at Four-Year Institutions

  • Victor Sáenz
  • Angelica Aguilar Rodríguez
  • Melissa A. Martínez
  • Enrique Romo
Keywords: Foreign-born, native-born, college


With the continued growth of Latinas/os in higher education, it has become more important than ever for university leaders, administrators, and policy makers to understand the complex factors that lead to their participation and success. It is also important to acknowledge that a good proportion of these Latina/o students are foreign-born. This study explores key differences between foreign-born and native-born Latinas/os as they enter four-year institutions in key areas such as academic preparation and reasons for choosing college. Employing longitudinal trends data from the CIRP Freshman survey, we utilize chi-square analysis to explore differences across key groups (by place of birth and gender) over three decades. Our results suggest that foreign-born Latinas/os lag behind their peers in academic preparation, have greater concerns over financing college, and are likely to choose college due to low tuition. Our findings demonstrate each group’s unique profile upon entering four-year institutions and provide a historic glimpse of how these student populations have changed over three decades.