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Hispanics Enroll in College at High Rates, But Many Fail to Graduate

Hispanics Enroll in College at High Rates, But Many Fail to GraduateWASHINGTON
U.S.-born children of Hispanic immigrants were nearly as likely as Whites to enroll in college, but less than half as likely to earn bachelor’s degrees, according to a report released earlier this month.
“They’re going to college, but they’re not finishing college,” says Dr. Richard Fry, author of the report by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research group. “Too many Latino college students are missing out.”
The report suggested several possible reasons for the disparity: Hispanics were more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to be enrolled part time or at two-year schools, could be the first in their families to attend college, and may have been more likely to attend underperforming high schools.
Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey from 1997 to 2000, the report found that about 42 percent of second-generation Hispanic high school graduates ages 18 to 24 attended college, compared to 46 percent of Whites in that age range.
Second-generation Hispanics were more likely to go to college than foreign-born Hispanics, who had a 26 percent enrollment rate, or third-generation or later Hispanics, who had a 36 percent enrollment rate.
But only about 16 percent of second-generation Hispanic high school graduates ages 25 to 29 received a bachelor’s degree, compared to about 37 percent of Whites in that age range, the report said.
The report “underscores that Latinos very much want to go to college, and that we are enrolling in college,” says Sarita Brown, president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Institute in Washington. “It heightens the attention on the potential for success in college.”
Brown, who is Hispanic and was the first in her family to attend college, said Hispanic students are failing to graduate because they lack adequate financial aid.
Among the study’s findings:
• About 75 percent of 18- to 24-year-old Hispanic college students were enrolled in college full time, compared to 85 percent of Whites. About 40 percent attended two-year institutions, compared to about 25 percent of Whites.
• Fewer Hispanics pursued graduate and professional degrees. Among 25- to 34-year-old high school graduates, about 1.9 percent of Hispanics were enrolled in graduate school, compared to 3.8 percent of Whites.
• College enrollment among Hispanics also varied by ethnicity and generation. Cuban high school graduates ages 18 to 24 had the highest rate, 45 percent, while Puerto Ricans had the lowest, 30 percent. Hispanic  educational progress will affect the nation’s economic health, the report predicted.
Over the next 25 years, the White working age population is expected to decrease by about 5 million, but the number of working-age Hispanics is projected to rise by 18 million, the report said, citing Census Bureau data.  

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