Hispanic college enrollment surges

Hispanic college enrollment surged by 24 percent from 2009 to 2010 according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of Census data. In 2010, 32 percent of Hispanics 18 to 24 years old were enrolled in college, compared to only 13 percent in 1972 and 27 percent in 2009.

The Hispanic enrollment increase is a result of population growth — 19 percent of the nation’s 18- to 24-year-olds are Hispanic — and rising high school graduation rates.

“This isn’t just about population growth,” Richard Fry, the report’s author, told the New York Times. “They are narrowing the gap.”

The high school graduation rate for young Hispanics soared from 59 percent in 2000 to 72 percent in 2010.

As more Hispanic, black and Asian-American students enroll in college, the number of young whites declined, Pew reports.

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 non-Hispanic whites.

Young Hispanics now outnumber young blacks on campus, even though black college enrollment has grown steadily for decades.  In 2010, 38 percent of all 18- to 24-year-old blacks were enrolled in college, up from 13 percent in 1967 and 32 percent in 2008.

Blacks are closing the gap with whites: 43 percent of young whites are enrolled in college. With a 62 percent college enrollment rate, young Asian-Americans are way ahead.

Forty-six percent of young Hispanic college students attend two-year colleges, the report found.  That’s significantly higher than the percentage for Asians (22 percent), whites (27 percent) or blacks (37 percent).

Community college students are much less likely to complete a degree — associate or bachelor’s — compared to students who start at a four-year institution.