Despite efforts by civil-rights leaders, education advocates, elected leaders, and private benefactors, the road to a higher education for blacks, Hispanics, and first-generation students is steep. College attainment for these groups remains elusive.
An article in The Next Economy, a quarterly supplement to National Journal magazine, reports that only half of Hispanics who start a four-year degree actually finish within six years. For blacks, it's 40 percent. Completion rates for those in two-year community colleges, which have open enrollment and lower tuition fees, are even lower, at 20 percent.
What keeps Hispanics and blacks from completing a college degree? Partly responsible for low completion rates, writes New York Times business columnist Alina Tugend in "That Elusive Diploma," are skyrocketing costs and a lack of preparation to meet the classroom challenges, or both.
The following Next America articles offer deeper insights into the complex issues of minority education:
- Hispanic Students Make Modest College Gains. Among people of color, the 2010 grad rate for Hispanics is 47.2 percent, up from 43.7 percent six years earlier.
- Latinos Top Minority College Enrollment, Pew Hispanic Center Finds. In 2011, more than 2 million Latinos enrolled in colleges and universities.
- How Some Colleges Are Improving Black Graduation Rates. Black college-completion rates were either stagnant or dipped slightly between 2004 and 2010. See a list of colleges implementing programs that increased graduation rates.
- Asians Often Burdened as Model Minority. The stereotype of Asians as the model minority group has masked the need for educational assistance for subgroups, including Cambodians, Laotians, and Hmong. In 2010, about 40 percent of Cambodians and Laotians lacked a high school diploma.
This article is part of our Next America: Higher Education project, which is supported by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Lumina Foundation.