New report examines college graduation gap between Latinos and whites

Inside Higher Ed reports:

With Latino Americans expected to make up more than 20 percent of the college-age population by 2020, most policy makers recognize that it will be nearly impossible to meet President Obama’s college completion goals without significant improvement in the graduation rates of Hispanic students, which have long lagged those of other racial and ethnic groups, as numerous studies have documented.

A new analysis digs more deeply into the data surrounding Latino graduation rates, and while it confirms the overall reality that Latino students trail their white peers at all types of institutions, no matter how selective, it also reveals wide variation in the relative success of institutions with similar student bodies. That matters, the authors say, because it shows that the educational practices of institutions matter.

“The data show quite clearly that colleges and universities cannot place all of the blame on students for failing to graduate,” said Andrew P. Kelly of the American Enterprise Institute, who co-wrote the study, “Rising to the Challenge: Hispanic College Graduation Rates as a National Priority,” with Mark Schneider of the American Institutes for Research and Kevin Carey of Education Sector…

Among “competitive colleges” and “very competitive colleges” — the groupings that include the largest number of Latino students — the gaps between the institutions with the highest and lowest graduation rates for Hispanic students are more than 50 percentage points.

“To look at this another way, a competitive student enrolled at the school with the highest graduation rate is, on average, more than seven times as likely to receive a bachelor’s degree than a competitive student enrolled in the lowest-performing school,” the authors write.

The full report is available here from the American Enterprise Institute.

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