Massachusetts could do more for Latinos seeking a higher education

Hugo Balta

Historically underrepresented groups of students — like Hispanic-Latino, first in their families to go to college, adults or from families with lower incomes — fare worse than their white peers.

According to new research from Excelencia In Education, Massachusetts could do more to help Latino students graduate from college.

While more Hispanics-Latinos are enrolling at higher education institutions in the commonwealth, especially at public institutions, there is still work to be done to level the playing field, reported the Boston Business Journal. About 12% of the state’s population is Hispanic-Latino — the 15th largest Hispanic-Latino population in the U.S. — and 18% of Massachusetts students in K-12 schools are Hispanic-Latino.

Degree Attainment for Latino Students (2017-2018), United States

Nationally, 24% of Latino adults have earned an associate’s degree or higher, compared to 46% of white adults.

Only about a quarter of first-time college students in 2011 who were Hispanic-Latino (23.6 percent) had earned a bachelor’s degree by 2017, compared to 22.7 percent Black, 55.3 percent of Asian students and 43.4 percent of white students. A third of Hispanic-Latino students (34.3 percent) had not gained a degree or credential and were no longer enrolled, compared to 29 percent of white 2011 enrollees and 18.5 percent of Asian students, reported Inside Higher Ed.

At two-year institutions, Hispanics-Latinos’ graduation rate was 8%-points lower than that of their White non-Hispanic-Latino peers in Massachusetts.

At four-year institutions, Hispanics-Latinos’ graduation rate was 6%-points lower than that of their White non-Hispanic-Latino peers in Massachusetts.

Four of the top five institutions in Massachusetts enrolling Hispanic-Latino undergraduates are public institutions.

  • Bunker Hill Community College in Boston with 3,282 Hispanic students;
  • Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill with 2,228 Hispanic students;
  • University of Massachusetts Boston with 2,038 Latino students;
  • Boston University with 2,030 Latino students; and
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst with 1,625 Latino students.
Degree Attainment for Latino Students (2017-2018), Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, 27% of Hispanic adults have earned at least an associate’s degree, compared to 56% of white adults.

“Closing the degree attainment gap in Massachusetts will require policies that help Latino students entering higher education on their path to completion,” reported the Boston Business Journal. “State policies to increase Latino student success should keep in mind the profile of Latino students and adjust to meet their needs.

(Cover photo: Excelencia In Education)