Minorities in Higher Education 2008, Twenty-Third Status Report

Amy Fagan

Mikyung Ryu
American Council on Education
October 2008

This report tracks the educational achievement of minority groups, specifically inquiring whether younger generations surpass their elders in postsecondary attainment. Unfortunately, recent trends show that the overall percentage of young adults with at least some kind of post-secondary degree in relation to older generations has stalled, and fallen for some minority groups. About 35 percent of all adults from 25 to 29 had earned a college degree in 2006--the same percentage as adults over the age of 30. But 18 percent of older Hispanics had at least an associate degree in 2006, while only 16 percent of younger Hispanics had reached the same education threshold. While African American attainment levels remained flat at 24 percent, only 18 percent of younger American Indian adults had at least an associate's degree, compared with 21 percent of older American Indian adults. But the news isn't all bad. In absolute numbers, minority enrollment at colleges and universities rose by 50 percent between 1995 and 2005--from 3.4 million to 5 million students. While high school graduation rates for African Americans remained flat at 76 percent, African American college enrollment increased by 46 percent to 2 million students during that decade. Still, only whites and Asian Americans continue to surpass their elders in terms of educational attainment levels; in 2006, 41 percent of 25-29 year old white adults had at least as associate's degree compared to 37 percent of white adults over 30. Similarly, 66 percent of younger Asian American adults had at least a two year postsecondary degree, while only 57 percent of older Asian Americans had reached the same. Sounds like the elementary and secondary achievement gap is creeping into tertiary education, too. Find out more here or here.

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