Hispanic women lead college surge

Second-generation Hispanic young adults — especially women — are closing the college enrollment gap, but not the graduation gap, concludes the Migration Policy Institute in Up for Grabs: The Gains and Prospects of First- and Second-Generation Young Adults (pdf). 

. . . while Hispanic second-generation women are enrolling in college at the same rate as third-generation non-Hispanic white women, with 46 percent enrollment, they trail their white counterparts by 18 percentage points when it comes to completing an associate’s degree or higher by the age of 26 (33 percent compared to 51 percent).

“Second-generation Hispanics are closing the gap in terms of access to higher education, but there remain large disparities in completing college, largely because of family, work and economic reasons,” said MPI Senior Vice President Michael Fix, a co-author of the study.

Non-Hispanic young adults from immigrant families are more likely to earn a college degree than third-generation whites, largely because Asian-Americans do so well in school.

The 11.3 million young immigrant-origin adults  represent one in four people in the U.S. between the ages of 16 and 26. A majority were born in the U.S.

Dual enrollment in college classes while in high school can help low-income students earn degrees, the report said. It also called for “making credits fully transferrable from two-year to four-year college institutions; programs that reduce students’ time in remedial courses; and extending time to graduation.”


“Our findings reinforce the need for accessible pathways that allow students to build their credentials as they make the transition among adult basic education, non-credit occupation training and for-credit postsecondary certificate and degree programs,” Fix said.

Second-generation Hispanics do considerably better than new immigrants and young women outperform young men academically.