MALN Opinion+: Dr. Carlos E. Santiago

The Commissioner of the Department of Higher Education speaks about COVID-19’s impact on students of color

Welcome to the first episode of MALN Opinion+! We are excited to launch a weekly program dedicated to discussing the concerns and opinions of Massachusetts’s Latino community.

On our first episode of MALN Opinion+, we spoke with Dr. Carlos E. Santiago, Commissioner of the Department of Higher Education, about COVID-19’s impact on students of color, online course accessibility, and the Department’s Agenda on Equity and Racial Justice. 

Commissioner Santiago echoed that the state’s Latinx and Black communities have been hit hardest by COVID-19 and the economic downturn, which has shown to greatly impact students’ academic success. The Department noticed early on that Latinx students were not completing FAFSA forms at the usual rate, which meant that without any financial aid, many of these students may not be able to attend college this year. The Department’s prediction was correct this fall as the enrollment rate for community colleges was down by 13% and enrollment at state universities was down by 7%. Commissioner Santiago said the downfall in enrollment and graduation rates among Latinx students may become a long-term issue again, especially if they do not receive the same support structures as other students do throughout their education. 


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