In Texas, which has the country’s second-largest Latino population, experts say that closing the gap in college graduation rates between Latinos and Anglos will be critical to ensuring that the state has an educated workforce in the next 20 years.
A report released today by Excelencia in Education, a national nonprofit that promotes policies aimed at improving Latino achievement in higher education, shows that approximately 17 percent of Latino adults in Texas have an associate's degree or higher, compared with 34 percent of all Texas adults. The report notes that the graduation rate for Latino college students in Texas is about 10 percentage points lower than that of white students.
The Obama administration, hoping that the U.S. will regain the world’s top ranking in college degree attainment, has set a goal of having 51 percent of Americans hold a college degree by 2020. If that rate is to be reached, approximately 5.5 million Latinos will need to earn degrees in the next 8 years, according to Excelencia in Education's report.
“It will be impossible for the U.S. to meet its future societal and workforce goals if Latino educational attainment is not substantially improved,” said Dennis Jones, president of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, in a conference call hosted by Excelencia. “It’s impossible [to reach the president’s 2020 goal] only by educating Anglos and other minority populations.”