Class is in session: where are you?

By Carmen F. Aguinaco

According to a report on educational excellence, the 2010 census shows that only 20 percent of Hispanics in the United States had earned an associate college degree or higher. By comparison, 39 percent of Caucasians, 28 percent of Blacks, and 59 percent of the Asian population had earned college degrees by 2008. Moreover, demographic data positioning Hispanics at 22 percent of the total U.S. population demands attention and decisive action in the area of education.

Here are a few colleges and universities that granted the most degrees to Hispanics in recent years:

The highest number of associate degrees (from community colleges), were granted by Miami Dade College in Miami, Florida with 9,090 or 65 percent conferred on Hispanics. In terms of percentages, the largest was from Laredo Community College, in Laredo Texas, with 95 percent of the associate degrees, for a total of 623 graduates.

When it comes to bachelor’s degrees, once again a Florida college ranks in first place: Florida International University (FIU) in Miami with 6,226 (or 63 percent) B.A.s earned by Hispanics. The highest percentage of degrees conferred on Hispanics (with the exception of universities in Puerto Rico) was from the University of Texas Pan-American with 90 percent of the total and the University of Texas in Brownsville, with 90 percent of its bachelor degrees going to Hispanics.

If you consider universities that have conferred graduate degrees to Hispanics, Florida continues to dominate with FIU giving 1,014 or 43 percent of all the master’s degrees awarded. And once again the University of Texas Pan-American had the highest overall percentage, with 78 percent.

In terms of professional degrees, FIU in Miami ranks ahead of all others with 45 percent of the degrees granted going to Hispanics. It is worth noting here that several Catholic universities with the highest percentage of professional degrees going to Hispanics include St. Thomas University in Miami with 34 percent and the Jesuits’ Fordham University in New York with 10 percent or 50 from the 491 degrees conferred.

The percentages of degrees awarded to Latinos declines drastically when it comes to doctorate degrees. FIU reported the highest percentage of Latino Ph.D.s with 22 percent of the total. The rest barely reach 10 percent in some universities. Although it is interesting to note that Harvard conferred 26 doctorate degrees to Hispanics in 2012, representing 4 percent of the total PhDs.

We are still far from the ideal, and this should present a strong challenge particularly to Catholic universities and colleges. But it is, above all, a challenge to the faith and commitment of young Latinos. How will they lead this country? What type of society do they aspire to have?

Your Turn
Are you serious about your obligation as a Hispanic to complete a university education?


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