The ethnicity of a person and the likelihood they will attend college has always gone hand-in-hand. Caucasians, for example, college attendance numbers are much higher than Hispanics or African-Americans. Primarily, this relates to the income level of the households that these children come from, but it is not the only factor. With the economic downturn, the number of college attendees are down and there is even more of a significant decrease in the numbers for minorities.

Hispanics take the Hardest Hit

Of all the minority groups, it is the group of Hispanics that seem to be struggling the most to make it through college these days. While the numbers are up on the number of Hispanics that are attending college, the number of Hispanics that earn their degree and graduate from college is decreasing. Since this is such a growing issue, President Barrack Obama, along with college educators, has set a goal to increase the number of Hispanic college graduates by 2020.

According to the College Board, Hispanics between the age of 25 and 34 have earned at least an associate’s degree or higher, as of 2009. While this is a nationwide figure, states such as Florida that have one of the largest Hispanic populations in the country, has a 29 percent amount of Hispanic students between the ages of 25 and 34 that hold at least an associate’s degree or higher, as of 2009.

African-Americans Struggle Too

The College Board estimates that only 29 percent of African-Americans nationwide earn an associate’s degree or higher, as well. While there are not state specifics on African-American graduates, it seems as if the two primary minorities in the country are earning college degrees at the same rate.


Twenty-nine percent may seem like a decent college graduation rate. After all, it is almost one-third of the population of the ethnic group. When you compare the 29 percent figure to the 40 percent of Caucasians that graduate from college with at least an associate’s degree or higher, you can easily identify the disparity in the numbers.

At Michigan State University, approximately 19 percent of Hispanics and African-Americans comprise the student population. The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, primarily known as Proposition 2, was an initiative the state of Michigan put into place to help attract and move more minority students to graduation in its state. Proposition 2 was introduced in 2006 and by 2011, the difference is starting to become noticeable.

Unfortunately, the affects of the proposition have been negative instead of positive. At Michigan State University, the African-American student enrollment fell in 2007 by 3.3 percent. While the proposition has not increased the enrollment numbers and graduation figures for Hispanics, the number of Hispanic students at Michigan State University has remained the same.

Higher education numbers show an even worse scenario. At the University of Michigan, the enrollment numbers for African-Americans have fallen 50 percent, according to the Office of the Registrar. The number of Hispanics at the university enrolled for their law degree slipped from 65 students to 47 students.

For minorities, the financial struggle to find the money they need to go to college has always existed. Now, not only are minority groups, such as Hispanics and African-Americans struggling to find the money to start and finish college, but so are Caucasians. Unemployment rates are high. Access to loans and other forms of funding are low. The combination of all of these factors is affecting all ethnic groups looking to obtain a college education.

For minority groups that have always struggled though, the struggle just keeps getting worse. Even with special programs in place to try to help minorities get into and finish college, most programs are falling short and not making the grade.

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