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Ep 1: The cost of the status quo

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A mariachi band serenades 2021 UTSA graduates during a May 2021 commencement drive.
Camille Phillips
Texas Public Radio
A mariachi band serenades UTSA graduates during a May 2021 commencement drive.

During graduation week at the University of Texas at San Antonio, graduates in t-shirts and stoles, dresses and caps, gather on one end of campus for a commencement drive. They ride to the other end of campus in cars and truck beds decorated in the university’s signature orange and blue. Along the way, they’re cheered by family and friends and serenaded by a mariachi band.

No San Antonio celebration would be complete without mariachi music. Mexican culture and history are a big part of the city’s identity.

And yet, even though more than half the undergraduate enrollment at UTSA is Hispanic, just 17% of Latino adults in San Antonio have a bachelor’s degree. Our largest population is the least likely to have a college degree.

From Texas Public Radio, this is the Enduring Gap, a limited series exploring some of the reasons more Latinos in San Antonio don't have college degrees.

San Antonio’s statistics mirror national education trends, but we’re 64% Latino. If we can’t get this right, no one can. And there’s a lot at stake if we don’t. Until we do, most of our neighbors won’t have the credentials they need to earn a comfortable income.

So why aren’t we doing better?

A big part of the problem is that a lot of college students’ stories don’t end with a cap and gown.

A lot of students end up dropping out instead, or saying “I’ll finish my degree someday.” Nearly 40% of students who start college in the United States don’t have a degree six years later.

In this episode, we’ll talk about San Antonio’s long-standing educational inequities, and how the standard way of measuring and supporting student success isn’t working. Episode 1: The Cost of the Status Quo.

The Enduring Gap podcast is made possible by an Education Writers Association fellowship. EWA fellowships support ambitious education journalism projects.

For more information on the college access survey the podcast series is based on, read our stories here."

The Enduring Gap Podcast Episode 1 Transcript by Texas Public Radio on Scribd

Camille Phillips can be reached at camille@tpr.org or on Instagram at camille.m.phillips. TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.