Hispanics Beat Whites in Rate Of College Enrollment


A record 7 in 10 (69%) Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college that fall, found a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Census Bureau. The number is 2 percentage points higher than the rate (67%) among their white counterparts.

In addition, the rate of Hispanic high school dropouts has decreased; in 2011, only 14% of Hispanic 16- to 24-year-olds were high school dropouts compared to 28% in 2000. 

According to Pew, "it is possible that the rise in high school completion and college enrollment by Latino youths has been driven, at least in part, by their declining fortunes in the job market" (unemployment among young Latinos has gone up by 7 percentage points since the 2007-2008 recession). 

However, another factor could be what the reports calls "the importance that Latino families place on a college education." According to a 2009 study, 88% of Latinos ages 16 and older agreed that "a college degree is necessary to get ahead in life today."  

But, as signaled by Pew, there's still progress to be made for this highly critical demographic; Hispanics "continue to lag whites in a number of key higher education measures." Hispanic millennials are less likely than their white counterparts to enroll in a four-year college (56% versus 72%), less likely to attend a "selective college," less likely to be enrolled in college full time, and less likely to complete a bachelor's degree.

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