Equity & Diversity

New Report Chronicles Latino College Completion by State

By Caralee J. Adams — April 10, 2012 2 min read
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About 20 percent of Latino adults have a postsecondary degree compared with more than 35 percent of all adults in the United States, but attainment varies by state. And new research out today shows just where the most strides are being made.

Excelencia in Education, a Washington-based national nonprofit organization that promotes Latino student success in higher education,released separate fact sheets for each state with data on Latino college completion. They include state-level data on the Latino population, representation in K-12, educational attainment of adults, equity gaps in degree attainment, and best practices for improving Latino college completion.

“This new research makes it clear that states can’t hope for a better future for all their citizens if they don’t succeed in leveraging the talents of their Latino residents,” said Dennis Jones, president of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, a private nonprofit that works to improve strategic decisionmaking in higher education, in a press statement. “By showing state leaders how they compare with other states and to national goals, the information presented will help them be more strategic in the decisions they must make to close the attainment gap.”

Among the highlights in the new research:

Latinos are a younger minority group than others in the U.S. with a median age of 27 compared with 40 for white, non-Hispanics. In Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota, the median age for Latinos was 22 in 2010.

Nationally, Latino youths make up 22 percent of the K-12 public school population and 15 percent of the U.S. population overall. States with the highest Latino public school population: New Mexico (60 percent), California, (50 percent), Texas (50 percent), Arizona (41 percent), and Nevada (38 percent).

Latinos are not graduating at the same rates from college as other groups. Nationally, the gap in degree attainment between Latino and their white, non-Hispanic peers for first-time, full-time students was about 14 percent. The biggest gaps are in Connecticut (19 percent), Delaware (15 percent), Illinois (15 percent), Iowa (18 percent), and Washington state(16 percent).

Latino College Completion in 50 States is a project of Excelencia’s national initiative, Ensuring America’s Future by Increasing Latino College Completion, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation for Education, the Ford Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

(The Lumina Foundation and the Gates Foundation underwrite coverage of the alignment between K-12 schools and postsecondary education and business and industry, respectively, in Education Week.)

A version of this news article first appeared in the College Bound blog.