A matter of degrees — Not a lot of people have them in Yakima County | Yakima Herald-Republic

A matter of degrees — Not a lot of people have them in Yakima County | Yakima Herald-Republic.
By: Dan Catchpole
Published: March 12, 2012

Sara Gettys/Yakima Herald Republic | Eisenhower High School senior Joel Ortega hopes to go to Central Washington University after graduation. He could be the first in his family to get a bachelor’s degree.

Joel Ortega wants a bachelor’s degree. He’d be the first in his family to get one.

Ortega is trying to overcome the hurdles that trip up many students on their way to a four-year school.

The Eisenhower High School senior doesn’t want to be like the vast majority of adults in Yakima County, where less than 16 percent of those older than age 25 have a bachelor’s degree. That’s slightly more than half the statewide rate of 31 percent.

The percentage of college graduates plummets for the county’s Hispanic, American Indian and foreign-born populations, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

These groups typically have less access to the resources needed to go to college, experts say. Students struggle with many things in applying for college: money, time, access to information and understanding the intricate process, and “often they get easily discouraged,” said Sue Byers, an executive with College Success Foundation in Washington. (READ MORE…)

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