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College Enrollment of Hispanics Rises 24 Percent in 1 Year

Hispanic student enrollment in higher education grew by 24 percent in one year—more than the rate for African-Americans and Asian-Americans, according to an analysis released yesterday by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. During that same time, enrollment for non-Hispanic whites dropped.

This increase among students ages 18 to 24 represents 349,000 more Hispanics on campus from 2009 to 2010, compared with 88,000 more young blacks and 43,000 more young Asian-Americans, and a decrease of 320,000 young non-Hispanic whites. This makes Hispanics the largest minority group on college campuses, outnumbering black students.

Looking at Census Bureau data, researchers concluded that college-age Hispanics make up 1.8 million, or 15 percent, of the overall enrollment of 12.2 million young adults in two- or four-year colleges.

The authors attribute the surge to high birthrates and high levels of immigration among Hispanics. However, the total Hispanic population among 18- to 24-year-olds in the United States only grew 7 percent from 2009 to 2010. Therefore, rising educational success among young Hispanics is also driving the enrollment trend, according to the analysis.

While enrollment is up, college completion is still a struggle for Hispanic youths. Only 13 percent of Hispanic 25- to 29-year-olds had completed at least a bachelor's degree, according to 2011 National Center for Education Statistics data, compared with 53 percent of non-Hispanic Asian young adults, 39 percent of white young adults, and 19 percent of African-Americans in that age group.

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