La Universidad of Imperial Valley?

Mexican universities want to expand to areas within the U.S. where prospective degree seekers reside, such as a California county that is 72 percent Latino.

Washington, UNITED STATES: The US and Mexican flags are waved during a protest rally for immigration rights 10 April 2006 in Washington, DC. Tens of thousands of people poured onto the streets of US cities for the second day of demonstrations against a proposed crackdown on the estimated 11.5 million illegal immigrants. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
National Journal
Emily DeRuy, Fusion
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Emily DeRuy, Fusion
Nov. 6, 2013, 7:19 a.m.

Mex­ic­an im­mig­rants lag oth­er im­mig­rant pop­u­la­tions in the United States when it comes to col­lege de­grees. But a solu­tion might come from an un­likely source: Mex­ic­an uni­versit­ies.

Sev­er­al Mex­ic­an uni­versit­ies re­cently launched ef­forts to of­fer de­grees to Mex­ic­an im­mig­rants in the United States, the Hechinger Re­port notes. The half dozen or so schools that cur­rently op­er­ate north of the bor­der mostly teach re­medi­al classes to Mex­ic­an im­mig­rants, but they’d like to ex­pand in­to full de­gree-grant­ing pro­grams.

If the ex­pan­sion works out, the pro­grams could be­ne­fit the Mex­ic­an-Amer­ic­an stu­dents the cur­rent high­er edu­ca­tion sys­tem is fail­ing to ad­equately sup­port and bring great­er re­cog­ni­tion to Mex­ic­an uni­versit­ies that ex­pand their pro­grams.

Cali­for­nia is likely to be the test­ing ground. As the Hechinger Re­port poin­ted out, more than half the state’s pub­lic school stu­dents are cur­rently Latino. Most of them are Mex­ic­an and the uni­versit­ies think there are im­mig­rants who want col­lege de­grees but feel dis­cour­aged when it comes to ap­ply­ing to and en­rolling at U.S. uni­versit­ies.

“In the next few years, we’re go­ing to be two mil­lion de­grees short of what Cali­for­nia needs. Who wouldn’t want to go to a first-rate [Mex­ic­an] uni­versity close to home?” Jonath­an Brown, a high­er edu­ca­tion con­sult­ant who works with a Mex­ic­an uni­versity con­sid­er­ing U.S. ex­pan­sion, told the Hechinger Re­port.

There are cer­tainly chal­lenges like ac­cred­it­a­tion, but if the idea pans out, ad­voc­ates told the Hechinger Re­port that the uni­versit­ies will ap­peal to Mex­ic­an im­mig­rants who may not speak Eng­lish and find nav­ig­at­ing the U.S. uni­versity sys­tem a daunt­ing pro­spect.

The uni­versit­ies could also serve un­doc­u­mented im­mig­rants who are of­ten un­able to at­tend U.S. uni­versit­ies be­cause they aren’t typ­ic­ally al­lowed to ac­cess fed­er­al fin­an­cial aid.

This art­icle is pub­lished with per­mis­sion from Fu­sion, a TV and di­git­al net­work that cham­pi­ons a smart, di­verse and in­clus­ive Amer­ica. Fu­sion is a part­ner of Na­tion­al Journ­al and The Next Amer­ica. Fol­low the au­thor on Twit­ter: @Emily_­DeR­uy

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