Latino success stories in higher education: A qualitative study of recent graduates from a health science center. Page: 4
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the population, and by the middle of the 21st century, Latinos will make up 25% of the US
population (Llagas & Snyder, 2003). Between 1990 and 2000, there was a 44% increase in the
Latino population (HACU "Analysis of Projections," 2000). Along with that growth came a
rapid increase in the number of Latino students enrolling in college within the continental US
between 1990 and 1997 (Snyder, 1999). The increase among Latinos was larger than any other
minority group during that time period; however, the percentage of Latino students who attended
college increased slightly when compared with other groups (Carnevale & Rose, 2003; US
Bureau of the Census, 1999). Margarita Benitez (1998) asserts that Latinos are the fastest-
growing minority in the US; however, the number of Latinos at all levels of education has not
kept pace with population growth. US Census Bureau (1999) projections on the increase of
Latinos within the US population echo that assessment. In 2002, Latinos earned just 9.9% of
associate degrees, 6.2% of bachelor's degrees, 4.6% of master's degrees, 4.8% of first
professional degrees, and 3.4% of all doctoral degrees awarded (US Bureau of the Census,
2003). If the percentage of Latinos attending and completing postsecondary education does not
increase with the increasing population proportion of Latinos in the US, a serious gap in
educational attainment in the US population will also be in the future (Laden, 2001; O'Brien &
Barriers to Higher Education for Latino Students
Currently, Latinos are the least-educated racial group, (Schmidt, 2003) with just over
11% of Latinos age 25 and older holding a bachelor's degree. In the same age bracket, 17% of
African Americans, 27% of whites, and 47% of Asian Americans hold a bachelor's degree
(Schmidt, 2003). According to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU
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Colley, Kay Lynne. Latino success stories in higher education: A qualitative study of recent graduates from a health science center., dissertation, May 2007; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3687/m1/14/: accessed February 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .