While the graduation rate of Hispanics nationwide is consistently below the national average, it’s notable that this year, an unprecedented 17.8% of Hispanic students will earn a bachelor’s degree.
This is the third straight year in which the Hispanic cohort of incoming first-time students at the nation’s four-year public universities surpassed the more-than-4-million-strong cohort of overall students. It’s a significant rise in just three years.
These students are also earning a better return on the educational investment they make, but their success relies on how well they complete their degrees.
Universities are struggling with the costs and expectations of the increasing number of students of color. The combination of low attainment rates at many colleges and the fact that many have taken several steps to make higher education more affordable since the recession mean that a degree and a certificate are more attainable for many than a bachelor’s degree in the past.
But, as reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education, it will be tough for more than one in 10 students at public universities to get a full-time degree by the end of the decade.
In response, many states have taken steps to create specific paths for low-income and minority students to get to and finish college. Some states have stepped up to demand higher standards in undergraduate and graduate programs. The National Journal reports that the University of Kentucky has flipped and shortened the quarter system to semester with rigid completion deadlines. And the University of Texas has lowered the bar in admissions and offered tuition to those who attend full time.
But not all states have made that kind of commitment to students of color, and more states than not still have a long way to go.