September 1, 2011

Hispanic College Enrollment Spikes, Narrowing Gaps with Other Groups

24%

A surge in Hispanic college enrollment between 2009 and 2010 has narrowed the gap on campus between the number of Hispanics and other demographic groups.

Hispanic college enrollment surged by 24% between 2009 and 2010, pushing the total of 18-to-24 year-old Hispanic college studentsto 1.8 million — representing 15% of the overall enrollment of 12.2 million young adults. From 2009 to 2010, the number of Hispanic young adults enrolled in college grew by 349,000, compared with an increase of 88,000 young blacks and 43,000 young Asian-Americans, and a decrease of 320,000 young whites. The Hispanic enrollment increase has been spurred by a mixture of population growth and educational strides. However, population growth accounts for only a share of the Hispanic college enrollment spike from 2009 to 2010. Rising educational attainment is the more dominant driver of these enrollment trends over the long term as well as in recent years. Hispanic educational attainment rose sharply from 2009 to 2010: the share of Hispanic 18- to 24-year-olds who have completed high school increased to 73% in 2010 from 70% in 2009, and the share of young Hispanic high school graduates who are attending college increased to 44% in 2010 from 39% in 2009. Much of this growth in college enrollment among young Hispanics has been at community colleges. Of all young Hispanics who were attending college last October, some 46% were enrolled at a two-year college and 54% were enrolled at a four-year college. Read More