Dropout Rates and College Enrollment

The overall high school dropout rates have continued to fall over the last two decades for all groups and college enrollment has improved. Hispanics account for a growing share of the entire population and research indicates that the education progress has improved for Hispanics for two decades. The decline in Hispanic high school dropouts is particularly worth noting because it dropped by 24 percentage points, compared to a 9-point decline among blacks, 3 points among whites, and 2 points among Asians.

Not only have high school dropout rates declined, but college enrollment was up between 1999 and 2016. During this time, Hispanics enrolled in public and private nursery schools and K-12 schools. College enrollment with Hispanics increased by 13%.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted college enrollment across the U.S., with the steepest enrollment drop experienced by community colleges. This seems to be due to the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on underrepresented lower income and minority students. Enrollment at two-year community colleges fell 9.5% compared to spring 2020, equaling its decline for the fall.

The greatest decrease in recent enrollment occurred among Native Americans at 12.5%. Enrollment among white students fell 7.7%, among Black students 7.4%, Latino student enrollment fell 5.3%, and Asian student enrollment declined 3.2%.

Hispanics continue to have the highest dropout rate in the country and lag behind other races in obtaining a 4-year college degree and are more likely to enroll in a 2-year college.

The Latino Family Literacy Project can help to support English and Spanish-speaking parents and their high school students with a new understanding of the college-going process by attending a culturally relevant College Awareness program at their school.