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College degree attainment among Latinos has increased substantially in recent years, according to a new analysis from Excelencia in Education. The nonprofit group found that 24 percent of Latino adults in the U.S. now hold a college degree, up from 19 percent a decade ago. Yet equity gaps remain. For example, 46 percent of white, non-Latino adults hold a degree -- a gap of 22 percentage points with Latinos.
Latino representation in K-12 schools and higher education also has grown across the U.S. -- one in five students enrolled in higher education is Latino, according to the analysis.
However, equity gaps also persist in graduation rates. The group said Latinos graduate from community colleges at a rate that is 2 percentage points lower than white students, and 12 percentage points lower at four-year institutions.
"This analysis shows the progress Latinos were making nationally, and in every state, DC and Puerto Rico, before the pandemic," Deborah Santiago, Excelencia in Education's co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. "Now is the time to intensify our commitment to serving students and addressing the longstanding inequities more publicly visible. The current crisis has put another spotlight on why we must increase the number of doctors, scientists, educators, civic leaders and other workforce professionals from the growing and young Latino population."
The top colleges and universities in enrolling and awarding college degrees to Latinos are concentrated geographically, the analysis found, with institutions in California, Texas and Florida leading the way.