An all-time high of 69 percent of Hispanics graduating from high school in 2012 enrolled in college that fall, according to analysis by the Pew Research Center. This is a greater proportion than that of white graduates from the same class, of whom 67 percent enrolled in college.
According to Pew, Hispanic college-going has seen a long-term increase, especially since the recession hit, whereas enrollment by white high school graduates has gradually declined since 2008.
In addition, the high school dropout rate among Hispanic 16 to 24-year-olds has been cut in half since 2000, when it was 28 percent, compared to 14 percent currently. The white high school dropout rate has also declined, albeit only two percentage points and from a lower base (7 percent to 5 percent).
Recent High School Dropouts (numbers in thousands)
Ratio of High School Completers to Dropouts
(Both tables from Pew Research Center)
Although they surpass white students in the percentage of high school graduates enrolling in college, Pew added, Hispanic graduates still lag behind in some aspects; for instance, Hispanic high school graduates have a 56 percent likelihood of enrolling in a four-year college, as compared to 72 percent for white graduates. They are also less likely than whites to be full-time students or earn a bachelor's degree.
Pew offers two possible explanations for the increased Hispanic enrollment: the worsening job market (unemployment among Hispanics 16-24 has increased seven percentage points post-recession, compared to five points among whites) and the emphasis Hispanic families are likely to place on a college education (according to two separate 2009 Pew surveys, 88 percent of Hispanics 16 and over agreed that a college degree is necessary for success, compared to 74 percent of Americans overall who said that).
Generation Xers (people who are now in their late 30s) are embracing the idea of lifelong learning, according to a new study by the University of Michigan. The study found that 1 in 10 GenXers are currently enrolled in classes to continue their educations. And 48 percent of the 80 million GenXers take continuing education courses, in-service training or workshops required for professional licenses and certifications.
Smith College has been receiving criticism over reports (not confirmed by the college) that a transgender applicant was rejected (although some of those reports suggest that the prospective student's application was returned for more information and not rejected). The college has for many years stated that students who are admitted to Smith may complete their educations, even if they are transgender and start identifying as such while enrolled, despite having presented themselves differently at the time of admission. But until recently, the college's statement on sexual identity said this about admission: "Is Smith still a women's college? Absolutely. As a women's college, Smith only considers female applicants for undergraduate admission." Now, however, the college's statement reads this way: "How does Smith decide who is a woman? It doesn’t. With regard to admission, Smith relies upon the information provided by each student applicant. In other contexts, different definitions and requirements may apply. For example, the definition of a woman for NCAA competition may differ from the definition of a woman for purposes of admission to Smith or other single-sex colleges."
Debra Shaver, dean of admission, said via e-mail that the new statement didn't mean the policy had changed. "We clarified how we consider transgender applicants; we're being more transparent. This is the same practice we've used for more than a decade," she said.
Throughout the economic downturn, some pundits and politicians have suggested that there is limited value to a college degree. An analysis in The New York Times, based on the latest unemployment data, suggests otherwise. The Times noted that in April, when the national unemployment rate was 7.5 percent, the rate for college graduates was 3.9 percent. Further, the number of college-educated graduates with jobs is now up 9.1 percent since the recession started. The number of those with a high school diploma, but no college degree, who have jobs is down 9 percent.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has outlined new steps for verifying international students' visas at immigration checkpoints, according to an internal memo obtained by the Associated Press.
The changes are a response to the fact that a student from Kazakhstan charged with destroying evidence related to the Boston Marathon bombings was allowed to reenter the U.S. Jan. 20 despite the fact that he had been academically dismissed from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and his visa terminated. Currently, not all border agents have access to Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) data; information about visa status can only be verified when a student is referred to a second immigration officer for additional questioning. While the department works to correct this problem, new interim procedures call for checking students’ visa statuses pre-arrival based on information from flight manifests.
A successful football season causes a 17.7 percent boost in applications to an institution, but the increase is more apparent among lower-achieving students (as measured by SAT scores), according to a new paper published in the journal Marketing Science. However, victories on the field do correlate with higher selectivity, with mid-level institutions improving their admission of students with average SAT scores by 4.8 percent, wrote Doug J. Chung, an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard University. To achieve a comparable bump in applications, a university would have to either decrease tuition by 3.8 percent or increase the quality of its education by recruiting higher-quality faculty who are paid 5.1 percent more, Chung said.
Dominican University of California announced last week that it had for many years misreported admissions data to the Education Department as well as to U.S. News & World Report and other groups that rank colleges. At Dominican, the problem was in calculating the number of applications. Contrary to established procedures, Dominican counted incomplete applications in determining the total number of applications. As a result, the college's admission rate appeared more competitive than it really is. For the class that entered in the fall of 2011, Dominican had reported a 53.7 percent admission rate. The real rate was 72.6 percent.