Analysis highlights gains in Latine degree completion, lingering equity gaps

A new analysis from Excelencia in Education shows that Latinx degree completion has increased in recent years but emphasizes that there is still a significant gap in educational attainment between Latinx adults and their white peers. The report found that the percentage of Latinx adults with an associate degree or higher increased from 19 percent to 24 percent across the last decade. However, that attainment rate is far lower than the rate for white non-Hispanic U.S. adults, 46 percent of whom hold college degrees.

To close the attainment gap, policymakers and education leaders must focus on increasing Latinx students’ graduation rates, Excelencia says. The graduation rate among Latinx students at four-year institutions is 51 percent, compared with 63 percent among white students. 

Related: New initiative will recognize colleges committed to Latinx student success >

The report also highlights the top Latinx-enrolling and -graduating institutions in the nation and within each state. While Latinx students make up a growing portion of all K-12 students in every state, Latinx-serving institutions remain geographically concentrated. All of the top five Latinx enrolling institutions, for instance, are located in Florida and Texas, Excelencia notes. 

Related: More institutions focused on serving Hispanic students, but funding outlook uncertain >

“This analysis shows the progress Latinos were making nationally, and in every state, D.C., and Puerto Rico, before the pandemic,” Excelencia in Education CEO Deborah Santiago said in a statement. “Now is the time to intensify our commitment to serving students and addressing the longstanding inequities more publicly visible. The current crisis has put another spotlight on why we must increase the number of doctors, scientists, educators, civic leaders, and other workforce professionals from the growing and young Latino population.”

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