by Efrain Nieves and Victoria Cepeda
Harvard College has accepted 2,158 students where 12.1 percent are Latinos according to boston.com. Harvard did not provide past numbers of enrolled Latinos but does state “it is likely that the percentages of African-American and Latino students are records.”
The overall Latino college enrollment is rising. In 2007, the percentage of Latinos in college “rose from 4 percent to 11 percent” (nces.ed.gov).
In 2009 the U.S. experienced a record high school graduation rate of 70.1 percent. Of those college bound high schoolers Asians Americans continued to lead the way with Hispanics inching their way up. In 2007 Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 11.4% of college enrollment in degree granting institutions. Still a low percentage but the trend is upwards as we continue to grow as the largest minority group in the U.S.
From 2000–01 to 2007–08, the proportion of public school enrollment composed of White students decreased from 61 to 56 percent. During the same period, Hispanic school enrollment increased from 17 to 21 percent of the total enrollment.
From 1999 to 2008, the total number of Black and Hispanic students taking an Advanced Placement (AP) exam more than tripled, from 94,000 to 318,000 students.
Consequently, although college drop out rates are still high within our community we are seeing a significant number of determined youngsters break ranks and pushing forward. Although Harvard’s 12 percent Latino enrollment may seem far from a surge to some, to us it should reflect the drive and motivation that our younger generation is displaying. That is what really counts when it comes to overcoming the odds.
photo by Seth Hoy
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