Immigrant English Learners’ Transitions to University: Student Challenges and Institutional Policies
There are compelling reasons to encourage more English learners (ELs), linguistic minority students who have been classifi ed as in need of ESL services by their respective academic institution, to consider going to four-year colleges. At the individual level, a bachelor’s degree makes a tremendous diff erence in one’s earning power and employability. Over a worker’s lifetime, a bachelor’s degree is worth about $1.1 million more than an associate degree, which in turn is worth about $487,000 more than a high school diploma (Carnevale, Smith, & Strohl, 2010). It has also been predicted that two thirds of the 18.9 million new jobs created between 2004 and 2014 will be fi lled by workers with at least some level of postsecondary education; of these positions, 63% of the particularly high-growth, high-paying jobs will require a bachelor’s degree or higher (U.S. Department of Labor, 2006). Further, college education is associated not only with better economic outcomes but also with better health and more active civic participation (Baum & Ma, 2007).