Hispanic Trends in Higher Education


Hispanics make up almost 17% of the nation’s population, and they are the largest minority population in the U.S. It’s important foe the nation to prioritize degree attainment among Hispanics, a group statistically more likely than some races to struggle in school.

Enrollments on the Rise

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanic college enrollments reached a record high in 2011. More than two million 18- to 24-year-old Hispanics enrolled, which was 16.5% of all college enrollments.

The increases in enrollment can be attributed to population growth. The Pew report shows that the Hispanic high school completion rate is also increasing. In 2011, an all-time high of 76.3% of Hispanics aged 18 to 24 had a high school diploma or GED. Of this number of high school graduates, 45.6% enrolled in two-year or four-year colleges.

The number of enrollees can increase by focusing on need-based financial aid, increasing funding for Hispanic-Serving Institutions and increasing the capacity for Hispanic students in higher education institutions.

Completion Gap

According to a report from the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), only 52% of Hispanics who began a four-year college in 2003-04 earned a college degree by 2009, compared to 73% of White students, 76% of Asian students, and 66% of students of two or more races.

Efforts to Increase College Success

In the NCES report Projections of Education Statistics to 2021 (Jan, 2013), data shows that the projected enrollment of Hispanics in post-secondary degree-granting institutions will increase 42% by 2021.

Here are just some of the numerous organizations that are invested in the educational success of Hispanics.

  • Excelencia in Education:Founded in 2004, Excelencia promotes education policies and institutional practices that support Hispanic academic achievement. Excelencia collaborated with 60 national partners for the initiative The Roadmap for Ensuring America’s Future, a tool to stimulate dialogue about necessary actions for increasing Hispanic degree attainment. Excelencia also released fact sheets for each of the 50 states detailing the current status of Hispanic college attainment.
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund:The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), founded in 1975, is the nation’s largest not-for-profit organization supporting Hispanic higher education. To date, HSF has awarded more than $360 million in scholarships. Through the Generation 1st Degree initiative, HSF hopes to close the completion gap for Hispanics by helping to put at least one college degree in each Hispanic household. The HSF will provide scholarships to qualified Hispanic students who are the first in their families to attend college.
  • Hispanic Access Foundation:HAF was founded in 2010 to tackle several issues in the Hispanic community, including education, health, immigration, science and environment, and tax education. HAF uses out-of-school and informal education, as well as some in-school work to reach first-generation and second-generation Hispanics. HAF has identified the following education-related issues as areas to focus on: growing enrollment in public schools, high school and college graduation rates, college attendance, math and science performance, and learning the English language.
  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities:HACU was established in 1986 and now represents more than 400 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain and Portugal. In 1992, HACU was a leader in the effort to prompt Congress to formally recognize campuses with high Hispanic enrollment as federally designated HSIs and to begin targeting federal allocations to those campuses. HACU aims to promote the development of member colleges and universities and improve access to and the quality of post-secondary educational opportunities for Hispanic students.

Statistics show that more Hispanics are being hired for senior-level jobs. In fiscal year 2011, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security employed the largest number of Hispanics at nearly 21%. The Social Security Administration and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission employed the next two highest percentages at 14.1% and 13.7%, respectively.

As the U.S. becomes a more globalized society, it’s important to have a diversified and educated workforce. Increasing the number of Hispanic college graduates will certainly help their job prospects after graduation, and hiring managers looking to diversify within their companies may seek out these graduates.


Posted on February 14, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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