Image by Tima Miroshnichenko
The socioeconomic pressures Latino students encounter make it burdensome to not also seek employment during their higher education careers. Photo: Tima Miroshnichenko.

The road to higher education

Having a clear profile of Latino students in higher education allows for a better understanding of the struggles this group faces in their pursuit of success.


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Having a clear demographic panel to assess Latino higher education makes it possible to understand why this group continues to face many challenges on the road to degree completion.

According to data acquired by Excelencia In Education, the majority of Latino students are of Mexican or Puerto Rican descent (50%), 26% of other Hispanic descent, 12% Puerto Rican descent, 8% mixed Hispanic descent, and 4% Cuban descent.

What’s impressive is that based on these statistics, the majority of Latino students were U.S. citizens (98%).

  • 89% U.S. citizens
  • 9% U.S. residents
  • 2% international

Excelencia In Education also shows that 58% of Latino students identify as female when compared to other racial/ethnic groups; 62% of African American, 55% of White, and 52% Asian students; comparatively. In 2016,“Latino males represented 52% of the Latino college-age population, but 42% of Latinos enrolled in college that year.”

There seems to be a revolving door when it comes to the collegiate world. As immigrants, 44% of Latinos are more likely to be first-generation college students than other racial/ethnic groups, as stated by Excelencia In Education. Many can attribute this percentage to the American Dream — the desire to be successful and improve living conditions that in the native country may not have been possible. It is with this desire that many Latinos push the barriers of illiteracy by constructing a road to achieve an education and self-betterment.

As a result, 16 % of Latinos are less likely to pursue a career in STEM, as mentioned by Excelencia In Education in 2015-2016.

According to data acquired by Excelencia In Education during 2015-2016 academic year, the majority of Latino students attended public institutions.

  • 41% enrolled in public two-year institutions
  • 28% enrolled in four-year institutions
  • 11% enrolled in private for-profit institutions
  • 10% enrolled in private four-year nonprofit institutions
  • Latino students were more likely to enroll part-time or to mix their enrollment between full and part-time, than be enrolled full-time.

The socioeconomic pressures Latino students encounter makes it burdensome for Latino students to not seek employment during their higher education studies. Excelencia In Education mentions “75% of Latino students identified primarily as students working to meet expenses and not as working students or employees, because in changing the verbiage they are also changing the narrative on intent.” The purpose of being employed while pursuing a higher education degree might seem optional to other ethnic groups, but for Latinos, it is the only way to finance education and support their families.

Pew Research Center states that “In a 2014 National Journal poll, 66% of Hispanics who got a job or entered the military directly after high school, cited the need to help support their family as a reason for not enrolling in college, compared with 39% of whites.” If this was not reason enough, in 2014, “35% of Hispanics ages 18 to 24 were enrolled in a two- or four-year college.”

The 75% of Latino students are divided between different working hours. For example, 32% of Latino students worked full-time and overtime. Nineteen percent worked 30 to 39 hours, and 26% worked 20-29 hours. The remaining 23% worked one to 19 hours per week, which further demonstrates how imperative it is for Latino students to be employed during their collegiate careers.

To read more about the analysis, please visit here.


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