Como se dice “financial aid”?

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Some American colleges are now using Spanish-language recruiting materials to make their schools more attractive to Latino students. An Associated Press article in the Washington Post reports that:

Some venerable East Coast universities are trying to ease that burden – and tap the booming pool of Hispanic students – by offering Spanish translations of their admissions and financial aid material.

Bryn Mawr College, an elite women’s liberal arts school near Philadelphia, recently launched a Spanish version of its Web site. And the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania has begun conducting some college admissions sessions in Spanish.

While this might seem a policy of limited usefulness—actual admission to (not to mention success in) these schools would seem to require a very secure command of the English language—admissions officials explain the Spanish brochures are geared toward families.

Both Smith College and Wesleyan University now offer Spanish-language Web pages. This tactic is slow to take off, however. Even some majority Hispanic schools, like the University of Texas at Brownsville (in which almost 90 percent of students are Hispanic), still offer all materials in English.

About 15 percent of the U.S. population identifies as Latino. Only a quarter of Hispanics between 18 and 24 were in college in 2006. About 44 percent of whites of the same age were enrolled college that year.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer