Latinos are 38 percent of California, and growing—by 2050 they’re projected to be the majority of California’s population. It’s with that demographic reality in mind that the Campaign for College Opportunity analyzed college-going and graduation rates of Latinos in the state in a new report (PDF). The statistics are cause for concern: Latinos have the lowest percentage of college attainment across all racial groups in the California. Eleven percent of Latino adults hold bachelor’s degrees while 23 percent of blacks, 39 percent of whites and 48 percent of Asians do. However, in recent years Latinos have made big strides in educational attainment—graduating from high school and applying to college in higher numbers, and doubling and tripling their enrollment in the state university and college systems, respectively—but the report makes the case that focusing on the educational attainment of Latinos is a social and economic imperative.
There are several primary sources for the underrepresentation of Latinos in higher education: Latinos are more likely to have poor educational access, and aren’t graduating high school with the proper prerequesites and preparation for college. Affordability is a factor as well. Studies have shown that Latino students are extremely debt-averse. That, together with tuition hikes, access and readiness issues, may explain why Latino students who turn to higher education go overwhelmingly for community colleges over other more expensive options, namely for-profit and state university options which come with much higher price tags.
Read the report here for Campaign for College Opportunity’s recommendations.