Monday, August 29, 2011 at 3:14 p.m.
The number of 18- to 24-year-olds going to college nationwide is higher than ever. And, who's to thank for the swelling statistic? Hispanics--about 349,000 of them, in fact.
The report, which was based on Census data, shows that young Hispanics now outnumber young blacks on college campuses in the U.S. and that the big bump in Hispanic enrollment is probably a side effect of the overall Hispanic population increase.
, a local education advocate and former dean of student services at Fullerton College
, thinks the same is true on the local scale, too. The number of local Hispanics enrolled in college has likely increased, Ramirez says, because of general population growth. "The rates increase just by the mere fact that the Latino population as a whole has gone up."
Although he thinks the percentages are a good sign, Ramirez says he still thinks there's a long way to go, noting that the number of Hispanics enrolled in community colleges vs. four-year universities is disproportionately high. The study says Hispanics make up 22 percent of the country's community college population, but only 12 percent of its four-year university population. "It's not just the pursuit of a higher education that matters, it's the careers they're pursuing," Ramirez says.
And, just because students are going to college, doesn't mean they're necessarily ready to, Ramirez says, adding that, statewide, a majority of students enroll in remedial English and math classes when they get to college. "Yes, they're graduating, but they're not graduating college-ready."
Ramirez referenced another recent report,
this one released by the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System
(CALPADS), which showed the continued high school graduation-rate gap among Hispanics. "The CALPDAS report dissects the issue. When you break the data down, it's not as much good news as you would want to believe."