Latino Leaders Discuss Higher Education at WSU Tri-Cities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Latino Leaders Discuss Higher Education at WSU Tri-Cities

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RICHLAND, Wash.-- More than 40 leaders from the Latino community were at WSU Tri-Cities on Monday night, to brainstorm on how to make college education more available to Hispanic students.

Some of the people in the crowd included members of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and also representatives from CBC. A group that played a big part in this workshop was MESA, that's short for mathematics, engineering, science, and achievement program.

MESA is a group that works directly with middle school and high school students to encourage them to go to college. Still some of the bigger challenges they face is trying to reach Latino parents.

"I worked my way through college, applied for financial aid, but the difficulty was that my father really wasn't interested in filling out what was a very complicated financial aid form ," said Frank Armijo, who sits on the WSU Advisory Board.

"They know how to set those standards for their children, and their children know how to work but we need to close that gap so they understand how to get their children into that education," said Laura Cook, Interim Director for MESA.

A large number of these parents are undocumented. Their children are often times legal, but it's all about trying to make Hispanic parents understand how the education system works.

The MESA director says they've already worked with about 100 parents on these issues.