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Goal: To Double the Rate of Hispanics Earning a Bachelor's Degree

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Hispanics are the fastest growing minority group in the United States. They are projected to contribute two-thirds to the growth in the size of the high-school-age population over the next decade. By 2010, Hispanics will make up one out of every five young people of high school age, compared with one in ten in 1990. Yet, Hispanics lag behind all other racialethnic groups in the rate at which they earn a bachelors degree. After doubling this rate over the 1970 to 1990 time period, Hispanics have made no further progress. In 1998, 10 percent of Hispanics aged 25 to 29 held a bachelors degree, compared with 32 percent of non-Hispanic whites. This is a difference of 22 percentage points, the largest gap in the last 30 years. Recognizing the risks posed by these trends, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund HSF set the goal of doubling the rate at which Hispanics earn a bachelors degree. To better understand what this goal would entail, HSF asked RAND to examine the implications of current trends and the costs and benefits of different approaches toward meeting the goal within 10 years. The study found that a combination of strategies focusing on all levels of education could double the college graduation rates of Hispanics and that the benefits of achieving this goal would far outweigh the cost of accommodating the increase in school and college enrollment. Even including the extra costs for a range of programs that will be needed to support Hispanic students to continue their education and stay in school, the public would still gain in the form of increased revenues generated over the lifetime of the cohorts of Hispanics that would graduate from college.

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  • Humanities and History

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