A new report from the non-profit Excelencia in Education has shed light on the college completion rates among Latinos across the United States, and the findings show that Maryland is faring better than most states in closing the educational gap.
The report highlights a concerning trend in degree completion between Latinos and their white peers nationally. Hispanic students at two-year schools have a graduation rate of 5% lower than their white counterparts, while the gap widens to 13% at four-year institutions. However, in Maryland, the disparity is significantly narrower, with two-year schools showing a gap of only 3% and four-year institutions having a gap of 4%.
Emily Labandera, the research director at Excelencia in Education, emphasized the profound impact of completing a college degree, not just for the individual student but for the entire community of Latino students. Labandera stated, “Earning a higher education degree not only lifts that student, but within our community of Latino students, we see that lift an entire family and a community as well.”
It is essential to recognize that Latinos comprise 11% of Maryland’s population but represent 16% of the K-12 age group, underlining the significance of supporting this demographic in their educational pursuits.
The study analyzed college enrollment data from 2015 to 2021 and tracked students who graduated within 150% of the normal time frame, equating to three years for two-year and six years for four-year institutions.
Sarita Brown, co-founder and president of Excelencia in Education, stressed the importance of closing educational gaps, citing the growth of the Latino student population as an asset to the country. Brown emphasized, “The better educated Latino students are, the more fully they will participate in the workforce and civic leadership.”
The report also identified the top schools in Maryland for Latino graduation rates, which included three University of Maryland campuses—the Global Campus, the College Park location, and the Baltimore County campus—alongside Towson University and Johns Hopkins.
The findings of this report provide valuable insights for policymakers and educational institutions across the country. Other states can learn from the policies and practices implemented to support Latino students’ success by examining Maryland’s success in narrowing the degree completion gap.
Excelencia in Education’s report serves as a call to action, urging states to address disparities in college completion rates and ensure that all students, regardless of their background, have an equal opportunity to succeed in higher education. Supporting Latino students in their educational journey benefits the individuals and contributes to the overall growth and prosperity of communities and the nation as a whole.
As the United States continues to evolve into a more diverse and inclusive society, it is crucial to prioritize educational equity and provide the necessary resources and support for underrepresented communities. Maryland’s example demonstrates that with the right strategies and commitment, significant progress can be made in closing educational gaps and empowering students to achieve their academic and career aspirations.