Women Immigrants Face Higher Hurdles to College Success

Oct. 16, 2013 / By


New America Media / BabyCenter en Español, News Report, Erika Cebreros, Translated by Elena Shore

SAN FRANCISCO – Lourdes Alarcón is what higher-education experts call a “non-traditional student.” In other words, she isn’t a young person who went straight to college after high school. Originally from Bolivia, she is a thirty-something mom raising two kids — a 7-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl – on her own. And by the end of 2013, after four years of personal sacrifice and hard work at San Francisco State University (SFSU), she’ll also be a college graduate.

Alarcón’s success was spurred by disappointment. Five years ago, she lost her job as assistant to the principal of an elementary school in San Francisco, and subsequently had difficulty finding a job that would pay her enough to support a family in one of the country’s most expensive areas to live.

“My options were to [either] go to college, or take any job,” said Alarcón. “I preferred to study to get ahead and provide a better future for my kids. My dream has always been to be a teacher.”

Childcare often the greatest obstacle

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New America Media is the country's first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 3,000 ethnic news organizations. Over 57 million ethnic adults connect to each other, to home countries and to America through 3000+ ethnic media outlets, the fastest growing sector of American journalism. Founded by the nonprofit Pacific News Service in 1996, NAM is headquartered in California with offices in New York and Washington D.C., and partnerships with journalism schools to grow local associations of ethnic media.