Report: Minority College Attainment Up, But Stalls

AP, October 9, 2008

The number of minorities in college has increased substantially in recent years, but not fast enough to keep up with demographic changes.

As a result, U.S. adults in their late 20s are reaching only about as far as the age group immediately above them in terms of educational attainment. And among Hispanics, a lower proportion has completed at least an associate’s degree when compared with those age 30 and older.

Unless the trend is reversed, the increases in Hispanic participation in higher education won’t be enough to ensure that a growing proportion earn a college degree.

The findings are highlighted in a biennial report to be released Thursday by the American Council on Education, supported by the GE Foundation.

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However, significant gaps among racial groups remain, and by some measures are widening. In 2006, among 18- to 24-year-olds, 61 percent of Asian-Americans were in college. That compares with 44 percent of whites, 32 percent of blacks and 25 percent of Hispanics.

Department of Education figures show that in 2006, 18 percent of older Hispanics had at least an associate’s degree, compared with just 16 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds. Council researcher Mikyung Ryu said the numbers do not suggest that’s simply because students are delaying getting an associate’s degree until after 30.

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