New research on Latino college completion in each state shows surprises

Stefanie Botelho's picture
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

To continue informing national and state-level action on Latino college completion, Excelencia in Education today released 53 separate fact sheets updating the current status of college completion among Latinos nationally, in each state, and in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

"This important and painstaking research from Excelencia in Education on Latino college completion tells us not only where we are in each state, but provides examples of successful programs to move us in a positive direction," said Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Arizona), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Education Task Force. "Such concise and actionable research is invaluable to policy makers and education leaders at all levels."

"America's success is intertwined with the educational success of Latinos, and that takes leadership not only in Washington, but in statehouses and communities all across the country," said Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (Texas), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training. "Excelencia aims to give us critical information to strengthen America by strengthening the educational success of Latinos."

Excelencia in Education last released these fact sheets in 2012, and the new data reveal progress nationally, with the gap in graduation rates between Latinos and Whites across the United States dropping to 9 percent, compared to 14 percent two years prior.

"We hope these state snapshots seed questions and discussions that compel action within communities," said Deborah Santiago, Excelencia in Education's chief operating officer and vice president for policy. "For example, why does California, the state with the largest Latino population in the nation, not have a single college break into the top five nationally for awarding degrees to Latinos?"

Each fact sheet includes state-level data on the population, representation among kindergarten through 12th grade students, educational attainment of adults, multiple comparative measures of equity gaps in degree attainment, the top five institutions enrolling and graduating Latinos, and examples of promising, evidence-based practices in each state for improving Latino college completion. To access the fact sheets and for an interactive online tool to view data from each state, visit: http://www.edexcelencia.org/research/college-completion/united-states

While the detailed data varies from state to state, several trends emerge from Excelencia in Education’s research:

Latinos continue to be much younger than the national and state populations overall.

• Nationally, the median age for Latinos was 27 compared to a median age of 42 for White, non-Hispanics.

Latinos’ are a larger share of the K-12 public school population than they are of national and state populations overall.

• Nationally, Latino youth represent 22 percent of the K-12 public school population and 17 percent of the U.S. population overall.

Latino adults have lower degree attainment levels than other groups.

• Nationally, 20 percent of Latino adults had a postsecondary degree compared to 36 percent of all adults in the U.S.

The graduation rates for Latinos are lower than that of White, non-Hispanics.

• Nationally, the gap in degree attainment between Latino and White, non-Hispanic cohorts of first-time, full-time students was about 9 percent.

"Today's release is one piece of an ongoing conversation we are leading among key stakeholders across America to empower them with data, evidence, proven tools and tested tactics with an intentional focus on increasing college success among Latinos," said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. "Excelencia is providing this new analysis with support from the Ford Foundation and will be working over the coming months to activate and engage many sectors to step up to the challenge of addressing Latino students while meeting national college completion goals. We remain focused on the fact that for the U.S. to regain the top ranking in the world for college degree attainment, Latinos will need to earn 5.5 million more degrees by 2020."

Latino College Completion in 50 States is a project of Excelencia in Education's national initiative, Ensuring America's Future by Increasing Latino College Completion, which brings together leaders from seven sectors to develop and provide specific tools and information to accelerate Latino degree attainment while serving all students. Begun in 2009, Ensuring America's Future is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation for Education, the Ford Foundation, the Kresge Foundation and W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

For an interactive map presenting data from each state, and to download individual fact sheets for each state, visit: http://www.edexcelencia.org/research/college-completion/united-states

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2014, Excelencia in Education is a Washington, D.C.-based national non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate Latino student success in higher education.