America

For First Time, Latinos Represent Largest Minority Group In Colleges

Persons walk across the campus of Saint Louis University in St. Louis in 2006. i i

hide captionPersons walk across the campus of Saint Louis University in St. Louis in 2006.

James A. Finley /AP
Persons walk across the campus of Saint Louis University in St. Louis in 2006.

Persons walk across the campus of Saint Louis University in St. Louis in 2006.

James A. Finley /AP

In a new study, The Pew Hispanic Center says that for the first time ever, Hispanics have become the largest minority group in the country's college campuses.

It's a report that marks many firsts for the ethnic group, which has been making great strides in education since 1972.

Among them: For the first time, there were more than 2 million latinos ages 18 to 24 enrolled. They reached a record 16.5 percent of all college enrollment. Hispanics make up a little more than a quarter of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in two-year colleges.

In its press release, Pew reports:

"In the nation's public schools, Hispanics also reached new milestones. For the first time, one-in-four (24.7%) public elementary school students were Hispanic, following similar milestones reached recently by Hispanics among public kindergarten students (in 2007) and public nursery school students (in 2006). Among all pre-K through 12thgrade public school students, a record 23.9% were Hispanic in 2011.

"The new milestones reflect a number of continuing upward trends. Between 1972 and 2011, the Latino share of 18- to 24-year-old college students steadily grew—rising from 2.9% to 16.5%. During the same period, among all public school students, the Latino share grew from 6.0% to 23.9%. In both cases, rapid Latino population growth has played a role in driving Latino student enrollment gains over the past four decades."

The National Journal reports that despite these gains, graduation rate remains low. "In 2010, only 9 percent of Latinos earned a bachelor's degree, compared to 10 percent for blacks and 71 percent for whites," the Journal writes.

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