Last year brought a huge surge in the number of Hispanics enrolled in U.S. colleges, and it wasn’t just due to population growth.
The number of 18- to 24-year-old Hispanic college students increased by 24 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to the Pew Hispanic Center’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. By comparison, the number of Hispanics in that age group grew by only 7 percent. During this same period the number of 18- to 24-year-old non-Hispanic white students dropped by 320,000 students.
The large numbers of Hispanic, black, and Asian students enrolling in colleges more than made up for the decline in the number of white students, though. In October 2010 the total number of students in the 18- to 24-year- old age range attending college in the U.S. reached a record high of 12.2 million.
Increasing Hispanic college enrollment can be attributed to rising Hispanic high school graduation rates, rising enrollment among college-eligible youth, and the 7 percent growth in the overall Hispanic population. Despite these gains, the achievement gap is far from closed. In 2010, 13 percent of Hispanic 25- to 29-year-olds held at least a bachelor’s degree, lower than the percentages for blacks, whites, and Asians.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.