Pew Center Report: Record Number of Latino Kids in College

There are more Latino kids in college than ever thanks to a 24-percent spike in enrollment in just one year that also helped the U.S. reach all-time high levels of enrollment of 18-to-24 year olds by October 2010, according to a new Pew Hispanic Center report. Latinos are now the biggest minority group on campuses.

The surge, driven in part by rising Latino population and increased educational attainment, means that Latinos made up 1.8 million of the 12.2 million total college-age kids in two- and four-year colleges in 2010, of 15 percent, according to the report, which analyzed recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

With a growth in college enrollment of young people of 349,000, compared with an increases of 88,000 blacks, there are now more young Latinos in college than young blacks (who number 1.7 million) by a slight margin. Hispanics, 46 percent of whom attend two-year colleges, continue to lag behind blacks in four-year-college enrollment. In the same one-year period ending in October 2010, white enrollment dipped by 320,000, partly the product of the white 18-24 population peaking in 2008, the report says. 

While population increase among the age group has seen a rise in Latinos by 1.6 million since 2000, compared to 1.5 million for all other groups combined, the rise in enrollment can largely be attributed to an uptick in high school completion, whether by graduation or GED. Completion stood at 73 percent in October 2010, up 3 percent from October 2009.

In October 2010, 44 percent of young Latino high school graduates were enrolled in college, up from 39 percent the year before—a record.