Closing the Educational Gap for Hispanic Immigrants: The Role of School Savings
Methods: We analyze data from the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study. The sample in this study is restricted to Hispanic immigrant youth in the U.S. based on the respondent’s nation of origin (N=881; Cuban= 295, Mexican= 230, and other Hispanics = 356). Both hierarchical linear regression and multinomial logistic regression are estimated. Educational attainment, dependent variable, is measured by total years of completed education and college attendance as well as graduation.
Results: Preliminary findings show that parents’ school savings is a significantly positive predictor of Hispanic immigrant youth’s total years of education. In terms of Hispanic national subgroups, school savings are positively associated with educational attainment for the Cuban and Mexican youth, separately. In addition, Hispanic immigrant youth whose parents have school savings are almost two times more likely to graduate college than otherwise similar youth without school savings. Hispanic immigrant youth’s college expectations have a strong influence on educational attainment after controlling all other demographic and socioeconomic factors. However, college expectations do not mediate the association between school savings and educational attainment.
Implications: The findings suggest that more responsible school savings policies may be needed to help economically disadvantaged Hispanic immigrant youth reach their desired educational goals. The current tax-based college savings that is more likely to benefit middle- and high-income than low-income households should be improved. Proposed asset-building policies such as Child Development Accounts can help parents and youth accumulate savings–especially savings for higher education– may be effective strategies for helping Hispanic immigrants achieve higher education and, ultimately, a better future.