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Black and Latino students were more likely than others to cancel or postpone their higher education plans during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study by the University of California, Los Angeles, Latino Policy and Politics Initiative.

Before vaccines became available, 11.3 percent of multiethnic students, almost 11 percent of Latino students and 10 percent of Black students canceled their postsecondary education plans for the fall of 2021, compared to only 6.4 percent of the total student population. White students were least likely to cancel postsecondary plans, at 5.4 percent, followed by Asian students at 5.5 percent. The study used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, which was used to measure the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic on American households.

After vaccines were made widely available, the share of students who planned to cancel their postsecondary education fell by more than half across all racial and ethnic groups, the study found. But the racial gaps in educational disruption persisted after the vaccine. Following the vaccine rollout, 4.6 percent of multiethnic students, 3.9 percent of Latino students and 4.4 percent of Black students canceled their postsecondary education plans, compared to 2.3 percent of all students and 1.8 percent of white students.

“Higher education attainment is an important pathway to social and economic mobility and has cascading effects across a person’s lifespan,” UCLA LPPI director of research Rodrigo Dominguez Villegas said in a statement. “When students are forced to delay their college plans, they are less likely to complete a degree, face challenges to school reentry, and are more likely to experience depressed wages even after graduation. Given Latinos’ position as the future workforce of America, addressing this disparity is critical to the prosperity of our nation.”