Study sheds new light on Idaho’s grim Hispanic graduation rate

Idaho’s Hispanic college graduation rates rank dead last in the nation.

That grim number resurfaces in a report issued last week by The Education Trust, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit focused on equity issues. And it isn’t the only sobering finding in the report, which focuses on “attainment gaps” between white and Hispanic adults.

“Latino attainment rates in many states are far too low and significantly trail rates for white adults,” the report says.

A few 2016 numbers, and some context.

Idaho’s bottom ranking: Only 12.7 percent of Idaho Hispanic adults hold a college degree, and that’s the lowest rate in the nation. That number comes from Census Bureau research, and it isn’t new. The Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation reported this number in its own national report on postsecondary completion rates.

The national context: 22.6 percent of Hispanic adults in the U.S. hold a two- or four-year college degree.

The attainment gap: In Idaho, nearly four in 10 white adults hold a college degree. The college graduation “attainment gap” between white and Hispanic adults comes in at an even 27 percentage points.

Nationally, the attainment gap comes in at 24.5 percentage points.

The big picture: As The Education Trust notes, many states are trying to improve their postsecondary graduation numbers. In order to do that, the report says, states need to come up with “policies, interventions, and incentives” that help Latino students navigate through college.

Idaho is one state hoping to boost its postsecondary completion rates; the state wants 60 percent of its young adults to obtain a college degree or professional certificate. In order to boost this rate, now mired at 42 percent, the state will need to convince thousands of students to continue their education after high school.

Since Hispanics represent the state’s largest ethnic minority, they also represent a linchpin toward meeting the 60 percent goal.

More about The Education Trust report from The Hechinger Report.

Coming this fall: Idaho Education News will take an in-depth look at the “60 percent goal” — and the socioeconomic barriers the state will need to overcome to meet this milestone. Here is a link to our award-winning series from December on the elusive 60 percent goal.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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