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The Next America | Education

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.

With so many first- and second-generation Mexicans in the U.S. seeking an education as a way to the middle class, Mexican universities see them as ripe prospects.(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

November 6, 2013

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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