The Two-Way
5:26 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

For First Time, Latinos Represent Largest Minority Group In Colleges

In a new study, The Pew Hispanic Center says that for the first time ever, Hispanics have become the largest minority group in the country's college campuses.

It's a report that marks many firsts for the ethnic group, which has been making great strides in education since 1972.

Among them: For the first time, there were more than 2 million latinos ages 18 to 24 enrolled. They reached a record 16.5 percent of all college enrollment. Hispanics make up a little more than a quarter of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in two-year colleges.

In its press release, Pew reports:

"In the nation's public schools, Hispanics also reached new milestones. For the first time, one-in-four (24.7%) public elementary school students were Hispanic, following similar milestones reached recently by Hispanics among public kindergarten students (in 2007) and public nursery school students (in 2006). Among all pre-K through 12thgrade public school students, a record 23.9% were Hispanic in 2011.

"The new milestones reflect a number of continuing upward trends. Between 1972 and 2011, the Latino share of 18- to 24-year-old college students steadily grew—rising from 2.9% to 16.5%. During the same period, among all public school students, the Latino share grew from 6.0% to 23.9%. In both cases, rapid Latino population growth has played a role in driving Latino student enrollment gains over the past four decades."

The National Journal reports that despite these gains, graduation rate remains low. "In 2010, only 9 percent of Latinos earned a bachelor's degree, compared to 10 percent for blacks and 71 percent for whites," the Journal writes.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.