Arizona Latino Student Success Strategy

Helios Education Foundation aims to accelerate the pace of change in Arizona by focusing on specific populations—low-income and Latino students. Data show that increasing achievement rates for these specific subpopulations is the most effective way to achieve equity for all students.  

Why the focus on low-income and Latino students?

In short, these are the largest populations of students struggling the most. In Arizona, the Latino population is the fastest-growing subpopulation in the state. Latino students represent 45 percent of the student population and are expected to represent more than 50 percent of the student population by 2026. Only slightly more than one in three (35 percent) of all Arizona third-graders are proficient readers, while fewer than one in four Latino students (23 percent), and roughly one in five low-income students (21 percent) read proficiently. Latino students are significantly underrepresented at Arizona’s three public universities (25.5 percent), as compared to White students (51 percent). 

That is why, for the next five years, Helios is zeroing in on improving outcomes for low-income and Latino students in Arizona. To increase college graduation rates for these students—and use what we learn to increase achievement for all students—we are focusing on three key drivers essential to getting these subpopulations on track for college attainment:

  • Ensure that students are reading by the third grade
  • Increase college enrollments
  • Increase attainment of two- and four-year college degrees

We are focusing on these three drivers because we believe that they provide the best leverage for ensuring that students are prepared for and on the path to a college degree. Ultimately, Helios seeks to ensure that all children in Arizona have the full potential to succeed in an educational pathway that will take them where they want to go.  

Third-Grade Reading

23% of Latino third graders are reading on grade level compared to 50% of white third graders.

20% graphic

College Participation

20% of Latino high school graduates enroll at a four-year college after graduation compared to 37% of white high school graduates.

21% graphic

College Attainment

21% of Latinos age 25-64 have a degree from a two or four-year college compared to 39% of the total population.