Demographic Challenges Ahead, SREB Says

June 23, 2009

LANSDOWNE, Va. -- The higher education pipeline in 16 southern states is filled with the very students who historically have had the most difficulty graduating from college, the Southern Regional Education Board reported at its meeting here Monday. Hispanic students in the South, 43 percent of whom graduate from college in six years, will make up 31 percent of the region's public high school graduates in 2022, more than doubling their presence in the pool of students potentially headed to college, according to the 2009 SREB Fact Book on Higher Education publicly released today. White students, who have the region's highest graduation rate -- 56 percent -- will be increasingly less represented in the high school graduate population, falling 17 percentage points to 43 percent of the cohort. Black students, who have a 40 percent graduation rate, are expected to decline slightly as a proportion of the region's high school graduates, falling 3 percentage points in 2022 to 20 percent of the cohort. In other news at the conference, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin was elected chair of the SREB, succeeding Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia.

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