Hispanic College Enrollment Rate is Higher Than White Enrollment

Written by Rebecca Leber

A Pew Research Center report released Thursday notes that Hispanic college enrollment reached a record high for the class of 2012, surpassing the rate of white enrollment for the first time. Pew shows that 69 percent of Hispanic high school graduates enrolled in college compared to 67 percent of whites, a jump from just under half of the graduating class in 2000. And there are other promising stats: The Hispanic high school dropout rate is at 14 percent, down from 28 percent a decade before. Still, Hispanic college students are less likely to enroll in a four-year, full-time college and are less likely to complete a bachelorís degree.

Though the Pew report does not look closely at the reasons behind the increase, it suggests that declining employment opportunities for high school graduates may be part of the explanation:

It is possible that the rise in high school completion and college enrollment by Latino youths has been driven, at least in part, by their declining fortunes in the job market. Since the onset of the recession at the end of 2007, unemployment among Latinos ages 16 to 24 has gone up by seven percentage points, compared with a five percentage point rise among white youths. With jobs harder to find, more Latino youths may have chosen to stay in school longer.

Another factor, however, could be the importance that Latino families place on a college education. According to a 2009 Pew Hispanic Center survey, 88% of Latinos ages 16 and older agreed that a college degree is necessary to get ahead in life today (Pew Hispanic Center, 2009). By contrast, a separate 2009 survey of all Americans ages 16 and older found that fewer (74%) said the same (Pew Research Social & Demographic Trends, 2009).

The following graphs show the dramatic change:

This should catch the attention of Heritage Foundationís Jason Richwine, who coauthored a debunked immigration study that argues reform is too costly. Richwine argued in his dissertation that immigrants naturally possess a lower IQ, a pseudoscience point linked to anti-immigration groups actively working against reform.

Anti-immigrant advocates donít note this, of course, but legalization and state-level reform would help more undocumented immigrants pursue a college education. But right now many states still do not provide in-state tuition to deferred action students.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.



Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Marianne Good
Past Member 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Lydia Weissmuller Price

Thank you. I take a bus that stops at a local college, and I don't see many Hispanics on the campus.

Margarita G.
Margarita G4 years ago


Autumn S.
Autumn S4 years ago


Susan T.
Susan T4 years ago

Deborah W - that's a lovely myth but the "level playing field" doesn't exist in this country anymore, even to the degree it did a couple of generations back. The chances for anyone to move UP in economic class are very slim, especially compared to other countries. We live in the land of the privileged these days, who will fight hard to keep their advantages. The rest of us get to work at McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts, since that's the only type of industry that's growing now (besides the lobbying industry, but you need connections to get there...)


"..parental wealth plays an important role in whether children move up or down the socioeconomic ladder in adulthood...."


Deborah W.
Deborah W4 years ago

Don't care if you're green with purple polkdots ... if the playing field of opportunity is level across the board, family/mentor motivation stimulates a student's personal involvement, then investment in their future should take precedence over the deadwood.

Michael H.
Mike H4 years ago


Ernest Roth
Ernest R4 years ago

" surpassing the rate of white enrollment" Interesting. It wasn't however mentioned that the Latino High School drop out rate is higher than that of whites, although less than for black students.