What Is The Academic Performance Of Hispanic Students?

In my first blog post, I delve into the academic performance of Hispanics by examining educational attainment rates. Historically, Hispanics have faced significant academic challenges and continue to underperform. This ongoing issue is largely attributed to living in underfunded neighborhoods with limited access to quality education and job opportunities.

Hispanics have Low Educational Attainment Rates

Hispanics have the lowest high school educational attainment rates and the second-lowest college attainment rates, as depicted in the graph below. When compared to other groups, only American Indians and Alaskan Natives underperform more when it comes to completing an associate’s and bachelor’s degree. The trend shown for master’s degrees is particularly concerning because Hispanics have experienced declining educational attainment rates for the last three years. In contrast, other groups are showing either stagnant or increasing educational attainment.

Hispanics performing academically

Because of limited high school completion rates, only a small percentage of Hispanics enroll in postsecondary education programs. Those who do mainly pursue and graduate from certificate and associate degree programs, as illustrated in the data shown in the stacked bar chart below. At higher levels of education, the number of degrees awarded to Hispanics significantly declines. This trend is evident at my university, where only 10% of graduate students are Hispanic. In comparison, most graduate students are Asian (26%) and White (50%). 

Hispanics performing academically

Why are Hispanics Underperforming Academically?

Hispanics have low educational attainment because we typically live in neighborhoods with lower levels of public investment. Consequently, this results in limited early childhood education centers and underfunded schools with limited resources. Additionally, these neighborhoods have poor access to jobs and job networks. As a result, families tend to have low incomes. 

Moreover, students increasingly enroll in overcrowded and underfunded open-access colleges that do not provide the resources needed to support Hispanic education and retention adequately. Starting with a poor education makes it difficult for students to perform well in college later. 

Why does this matter?

In the next blog post, I will discuss the effects not pursuing an education has on the Hispanic community.

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Stephanie Taboada

The author of this post has a Chemical Engineering Ph.D. and is an Engineering Professor with industry experience. As a Latina and a STEM professional, Stephanie is passionate about incentivizing Hispanics to pursue STEM. Read Stephanie's blog to understand the opportunities that exist in STEM for underrepresented groups. Follow her on social media to learn when the next blog post will be published.

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