The number of Latinos graduating with bachelors and associates degrees increased seven-fold in the last four decades. (Photo : Johan Hendrikse (released under GFDL))
Latino students have become the largest minority demographic to attend college in the US, with a total of 16.5 percent, according to Pew Research Center.
In 2011, the number of Latinos in the between the ages of 18 and 24 attending a four-year college institution increased by two million, overpassing other minority groups.
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According to Pew's Richard Fry and Mark Hugo Lopez, "Today, with the high school completion rate among young Hispanics at a new high, more young Hispanics than ever are eligible to attend college. According to the Pew Hispanic analysis, 76.3 [percent] of all Hispanics ages 18 to 24 had a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) degree in 2011, up from 72.8 [percent] in 2010."
Despite graduation rates on the decline for Latinos when compared to non-Latinos, the number of Latinos graduating with bachelors and associates degrees increased seven-fold in the last four decades. The percentage of Latinos in college grew from 2.9 percent in 1972 to 2011's 16.5 percent.
Breaking down those numbers, in 2010, Latinos receiving a bachelors degree was 140,000, while Latinos receiving an associates degree was 112,000.
According to CBS News, the study by Pew was assisted by information provided by the US Census Bureau. They noted the number of Latinos in college is "a significant milestone because for the first time Hispanic representation among the nation's traditional college-student population matched Hispanics' overall population representation."
Latinos in school, overall, is also on the increase. Pew reported that for the first time 24.7 percent of students in public elementary school was Latino. By 2011, overall Latinos in school increase to a record 23.9 percent.
Latinos are also the US' largest minority group with more than 50 million people, accounting for 16.5 percent of the general population in the country.