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Hispanic high school graduation rates on the rise


A record seven-in-ten, 69 percent of  Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college that fall, two percentage points higher than the rate of 67 percent among their white counterparts, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

More Latinos are graduating from high school than they were nearly a decade ago, according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Education.

According to the report done by the National Center for Education Statistics, Hispanic students graduated at a rate of 71 percent in 2010. That is a striking jump from 2006, when the rate was 61 percent.

“Obviously all of that is very encouraging to us,” League of United Latin American Citizens Director of Education Policy Luis A. Torres told reporters. “They note there is a strong cultural bias for education among the Latino community more than the average American. That is data we’ve seen for a long time, that 88 percent of students surveyed by ages 16 to 24 say they need college education in order to be successful in life.” Torres added that another factor pointed out  in the study is that the labor market activity has accelerated college enrollment of Hispanics due to the high unemployment rate. It has pointed Latino youth towards higher education.

While Hispanic educational leaders are enthused about the the new data, the Pew study leads to more questions, such as what colleges are these Latinos attending and are they actually graduating?

“What we’re showing is that more young Hispanics are going on to college the following fall, and while most observers would think that’s a good thing, there’s more to it,” Fry said. “What is their college experience going to be and how many of them four to six years down the road will have bachelor’s degrees? We do know that Hispanic undergraduates lag in finishing bachelor’s degrees.”

To answer that question, the Pew study concluded that the current overall graduation rate for Latinos is 47 percent.