American Student Assistance®(ASA) was well represented at the 2018 Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Conference recently. The conference, which ASA® has attended for the past six years, is a national forum for the “sharing of information and ideas for the best and most promising practices in the education of Hispanics.” The event brought together over 1800 attendees, including 510 students from the U.S. and Puerto Rico, who attended panel presentations, workshops, luncheons, a town hall meeting, and met with conference exhibitors and recruiters over the course of the weekend.
ASA hosted an interactive seminar, “A Financial Bootcamp for the Real World,” that stressed the importance of budgeting and saving for life after graduation. The session was filled to capacity, and students who attended loved how the presenters engaged them with phone-based polling questions throughout the talk to get real-time feedback from the audience. We also administered a survey focused on students’ attitudes and expectations around planning for life after high school, key influencers in their decision-making, and their confidence in their decisions. Nearly 300 participants responded to the survey and the corresponding insights were really interesting:
Virtually all survey respondents have a chosen career path (94 percent). The fields of top interest are:
- 16% education
- 14% science, tech, engineering and mathematics
- 12% health care
- 10% business, management and administration
Confidence in their future success is extremely high among this group, and is based on a foundation of hard work:
- 95 percent strongly/somewhat agree that they are confident that their education decisions will lead to good career options;
- 98 percent strongly/somewhat agree that they are working hard in school now to give themselves the best career options later on;
This is also a group that has done a lot of planning for their future:
- 89 percent strongly/somewhat agree that they have a plan for their life after college
- 93 percent strongly/somewhat agree that they are considering internships to gain experience in a chosen field. Further, 50 percent say they are ‘very likely’ to look for an internship now or before they finish their education.
- Thinking about their immediate futures post-college, half (49 percent) plan to go for an advanced degree while one-third (34 percent) plan to find a full-time job. 10 percent plan to find an apprenticeship, internship or become certified in a skill. Less than 5 percent indicate taking time off before deciding on next steps or not knowing what they will do next.
- In terms of what is most important when thinking about their future, 92 percent indicate that a job that they enjoy/reflects their interests is ‘very important.’ 84 percent say ‘having a good work-life balance’ and ‘having a reliable income’ is ‘very important.’ By contrast, only 40 percent say that ‘having a high-paying job’ is ‘very important.’
ASA’s presence was capped off when President and CEO Jean Eddy addressed a packed “Power Lunch” event to outline our expanded mission and preview new collaborative initiatives under development with HACU. Throughout the conference, ASA also participated in a networking fair where conference attendees could meet and interact with ASA staff and be part of a selfie-mosaic wall to remember the event. We’re so grateful for our partners at HACU. To the students at the event we just want to say: We see you, we hear you, and you make us exceedingly hopeful for the future!