A record seven-in-ten (69%) Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college that fall, two percentage points higher than the rate (67%) among their white counterparts, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the Census Bureau. As recently as the class of 2000, only 49% of Hispanic high school graduates immediately enrolled in college the following fall.
This milestone is the result of a long-term increase in Hispanic college-going that accelerated with the onset of the recession in 2008. The rate among white high school graduates, by contrast, has declined slightly since 2008.
The positive trends in Hispanic educational indicators also extend to high school. The most recent available data show that in 2011 only 14% of Hispanic 16- to 24-year-olds were high school dropouts, half the level in 2000 (28%). Starting from a much lower base, the high school dropout rate among whites also declined during that period (from 7% in 2000 to 5% in 2011), but did not fall by as much.
Despite the narrowing of some of these long-standing educational attainment gaps, Hispanics continue to lag whites in a number of key higher education measures. Young Hispanic college students are less likely than their white counterparts to enroll in a four-year college (56% versus 72%), they are less likely to attend a selective college, less likely to be enrolled in college full time, and less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree.
The report, “Hispanic High School Graduates Pass Whites in Rate of College Enrollment,” authored by Richard Fry, senior research associate in Pew Hispanic Center, and Paul Taylor, executive vice president of Pew Research Center, is available at the Pew Hispanic Center’s website, http://www.pewhispanic.org.