Census Data: Significant Growth In Hispanic Enrollment, Degree Attainment

Danielle Smith | Public News Service
A recent U.S. Census Bureau analysis found South American (46%) and Cuban (35.9%) groups had higher levels of bachelor's degree attainment than all other Hispanic-origin groups in 2021 and for the entire 16-year period. Photo Credit: AdobeStock

Danielle Smith
Public News Service

Across the whole country, the rapidly growing Hispanic population made remarkable strides in college enrollment and educational attainment, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The number of Hispanic students ages 18 to 24 enrolled in college increased to 2.4 million in 2021.

Emily Labandera, director of research for the group Excelencia in Education, said its mission is to accelerate Latino student success in higher education. It came about from its knowledge of the community and the data, tracking with the census report, showing the Latino community has been growing for decades in the nation.

“The future of our country for an improved workforce, civic leadership, the economy and really looking ahead to the future,” Labandera asserted. “This is an important community and group to pay attention to because of those key statistics and population demographics.”

Labandera noted some of the networks of institutions with which they partner and collaborate are Hispanic-Serving Institutions. She explained they created the Seal of Excelencia, a national certification for colleges and universities striving to go beyond enrollment and more intentionally serve Latino students in order to become institutions where Latinos thrive.

Labandera pointed out their website includes a Latino college completion interactive map showing state-by-state data including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, which looks at enrollment metrics, population demographics, completion, and degree outcomes. She added they are working on a series “Finding Your Workforce” which will focus on three specific disciplines.

“In STEM-related disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math, in the health care field, as well as in education,” Labandera outlined. “Those are key disciplines, key areas that we’ve noted Latino students earning degrees in.”

Labandera said the group is also working on four different reports coming out later this summer with additional information on degree attainment for Latinos students at Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

A recent analysis from Excelencia in Education found Latina students at Hispanic-Serving Institutions earned more than 300,000 degrees in 2020 and nearly 120,000 more than their Latino counterparts.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.