Latino College Enrollment and Graduation Rates Improving

A new brief by The Education Trust celebrates the spike in college enrollment by Latino students, but calls attention to the need to improve six-year graduation rates.

Between 2009 and 2011, Latino undergraduate enrollment at four-year colleges and universities increased by about 22 percent — from 949,304 students to 1,158,268. Black student enrollment increased by 8.5 percent to 1,158,268 and white enrollment increased by 2.7 percent to 6,090,212.

Between 2009 and 2011, the six-year graduation rate for Latino students improved to 51 percent, growing by 4.7 percent. The graduation rate for black students was 39.9 percent and for white students was 62.1 percent.

Using data form the U.S. Department of Education, The Education Trust has created an online database of data called College Results Online. The online tool allows users to review college-specific data and to compare colleges to their peer group of similar institutions.

The group has identified those colleges that are performing best and worst with minority students. For  example, at Stony Brook University Hispanic students are graduating at higher rates than white students. The six-year rate for Latinos is now about 66.5 percent.

The brief highlights Michigan State University for not doing well with Latino students. Hispanic students are graduating at a six-year rate of 61.5 percent, compared to 80.9 percent for white students.

The brief also said that selective admissions do not necessarily result in student success.

Related Links:

– “Intentionally Successful: Improving Minority Student College Graduation Rates,” The Education Trust. 

– College Results Online

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One in Four Public Elementary Students Is Hispanic, Study Shows

A new report by the Pew Hispanic Center shows that the Latino population hit record highs in college and public school enrollment in 2011.

The analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data illustrates the shifts of the population through the school system. Most notably, researchers found that Latinos are  now the largest minority among 18-24 year-olds on four-year college campuses. The number of Latinos in college grew by 15 percent, or 265,000 students, between 2010 and 2011. Meanwhile, the white college population grew by just three percent.

Latinos now make up about 16.5 percent of all college students, 25.2 percent of two-year college students, 24.7 percent of elementary public school students and 26 percent of public kindergarten students.

While the increase in college enrollment may be cause for celebration for advocates and the number of Latinos earning degrees is increasing, the Hispanic population still is lagging in the share of students completing. According to Pew,  in 2010 among 18 to 24-year-old degrees recipients, Latinos made up 13.2 percent of those earning an associate and 8.5 percent of those earning a bachelor’s degree.

About 46 percent of Latinos who complete high school go on to enroll in two- or four-year colleges, compared with 51 percent of white students. Again, it’s important to remember that due to high dropout rates, many Latinos in this age bracket are not included in this percentage.

In addition, Latinos lag other populations in their preschool enrollment. When Pew took into account both public and private schools, they found that in October 2011 Hispanics made up just 20 percent of nursery school enrollments.

You can use this data to see whether this growth is trickling down to the local level. How much has Latino K-12 and college enrollment grown in your area? If growth has stalled at the college level, are administrators doing anything to address the issue? While public schools are improving preschool access for Hispanic children, do you know of any nonprofits or private schools with their own initiatives geared at providing services for this young population?

And don’t forget that the Pew Hispanic Center’s Richard Fry is a very good resource for reporters who responds amazingly quickly to inquiries regarding demographic data.

Related Links:

– “Hispanic student enrollments reach new highs in 2011.” Pew Hispanic Center.

– “More Hispanics are in College, Report Finds.” The New York Times.

– “Latino college enrollment is surging.” Fronteras.

Study: 23 Percent of Undergraduates Are Immigrants or Have an Immigrant Parent

A new analysis by the National Center for Education Statistics shows that in 2008, about 23 percent of  the country’s 22.3 million undergraduate college students were immigrants or had at least one immigrant parent. The vast majority of those students are Asian and Latino.

About 10 percent of the college students were immigrants, and 13 percent were second generation. Their enrollment rates varied considerably between states, with the largest populations in California, New York and Texas.

Latino students made up the largest ethnic group who were second-generation college students, representing 41 percent of students in that category. In contrast, Asian students made up the largest group of immigrant students at 30 percent of that pool.

Overall, about 66 percent of all Latino college students  and 90 percent of Asian college students are immigrants or second-generation Americans, compared with 10 percent of white Americans. Latinos are more likely than Asians to be second-generation, with about 45 percent of Latino undergraduates being second-generation Americans. About 21 percent of Latino undergraduates are immigrants, compared with 55 percent of Asian undergraduates.

The immigrant Asian and Latino students were more likely to be 24 and older, while the majority of second-generation students were 23 or younger. The Asian and Latino students in the two groups were also more likely to come from low-income backgrounds than the overall rate among undergraduates.

Latino and Asian students differed significantly in their parents’ backgrounds and college choices.

Hispanic immigrant and second-generation students were much more likely to have parents who did not attend college than Asian students, with 55 and 54 percent of their parents having not attended college.

They also were much more likely to attend community colleges than all undergraduates. Of the immigrant students, 54 percent attended community college, compared with 51 percent of the second-generation students, 44 percent of all undergraduates and 40 percent of Asian second-generation students. In addition, about 12 percent of the Latino immigrant and second generation students were also enrolled in for-profit colleges, a higher rate than the U.S. student average. The Latino students were also more likely not to  be full-time students. These characteristics are important to note because these types of students (for-profit and part-time) are less likely to graduate or move on to a bachelor’s degree.

The Latino students also had other factors that made them at-risk of not completing. Those Hispanic immigrant or second -generation students under the age of 30 took fewer advanced math courses in high school, such as precalculus and calculus and also took more remedial courses in college.

I’ve blogged before about the big recent push to enroll more Latino students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs). The data show that  about 14 percent of Latino  immigrant and second-generation students had STEM-related majors, compared with 25 percent of Asian immigrant and second-generation students. Latinos were more likely to enroll in general studies, social sciences or education than the Asian students.

The researchers clarified that they don’t sort the data by the age of the immigrant students when they entered the United States or the students’ immigration statuses. They also excluded students reporting that they or their parents were from Puerto Rico.

Related Links:

– “New Americans in Postsecondary Education: A Profile of Immigrant and Second-Generation American Undergraduates.” U.S. Department of Education and National Center for Education Statistics.

– National Postsecondary Student Aid Study.

– National Center for Education Statistics.

Texas District Brings Dropouts Back to School with College Courses

Pharr-San Juan-Alamo School District Superintendent Daniel King makes an unusual pitch to high school dropouts to get them to re-enroll in the district: He offers them the option to start college while they are finishing high school.

“It’s kind of an oxymoron, but we used an early college philosophy for dropouts,” King told PBS NewsHour. “We brought them back in. Our message was, you didn’t finish high school. Start college today.”

He opened the College, Career, and Technology Academy (CC&T Academy) in 2007. Volunteers go door-to-door to recruit dropouts to attend the school, which now serves students between the ages of 18 to 26. They are able to take dual enrollment courses to earn college credits. This year, there were  70 graduates of the academy , and about 60 percent of them will go on to college.

The South Texas district on the U.S.-Mexico border serves about 32,000 students, 99 percent  of whom are Latino and 89 percent are economically disadvantaged.

The college focus also extends to regular students: The district opened up the T-STEM Early College High School to meet the needs of juniors and seniors. Many of the graduates finished school with a two-year degree from South Texas College, a community college, and a high school diploma.

By numerous accounts, the strategy has worked.  Education Week recently reported that about 2,000 of the district’s 8,000 high school students are enrolled in a college course each semester, and the four-year graduation rate has increased from 62 percent to 87 percent over the past three years.

The Texas Education Agency featured the district in a best practices guide for school districts.

One student helped by the PSJA district initiative is Jonathan Sanchez, who says he dropped out when he got involved in drugs. He enrolled in the program in January, and takes courses including business computer systems.

“There’s, like, so much going on, it feels like my brain is being occupied the whole time,” he told PBS.

The story was featured on PBS NewsHour as part of the American Graduate project, reported on by John Merrow of Learning Matters. A second story on the school district will air tonight on NewsHour.

Related Links:

– “In South Texas, Luring Dropouts back by Sending them to College.” PBS NewsHour.

– “I have Seen the Future.” Learning Matters.

– American Graduate Project. Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

– “For many Latino Students, College Seems Out of Reach.” Diplomas Count 2012. Education Week.

– “High-Yield Dropout Prevention/Recovery Program-Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD.” Best Practices. Texas Education Agency.

– College, Career & Technology Academy. Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District.

Nearly 1 Million Latino College Students Could Be Affected by Student Loan Rate Increase

Many Latino students’ dreams of pursuing a higher education will be threatened if student loan interest rates double as scheduled on July 1– and White House officials are trying to put the word out about the potential impact on Hispanics.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, about 986,494 Hispanic borrowers would see their loan rates increase. Interest rates would double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. In all, more than 7.4 million students with federal Stafford Loans could be affected. The Obama administration is calling on Congress to stop the increase.

The rate hike could be especially damaging for Latinos, who are more likely to come from low-income families and could be more likely to be deterred by higher costs. “Hispanics have managed to make great strides in their number and share of young students in college and universities,” wrote Kristian Ramos, policy director at Immigration NDN, on The Huffington Post. “Doubling the interest rates on federally subsidized college loans could reverse this trend.”

According to a report by the Young Invincibles and the Center for American Progress, the increase could cost the average college student about $1,000 more pear year of school as tuition rates increase about 8 percent a year on average. According to a poll, about 92 percent of young Latinos support making college more affordable and increasing financial aid.

“The great recession and stagnating wages have already made it more difficult for young Americans and their families to afford the cost of higher education,” the report says. “At the same time, obtaining a credential beyond high school has become more important than ever in achieving financial security for individuals as well as keeping America competitive in an ever-expanding global economy.”