The United States is no longer gaining ground in the postsecondary educational attainment of its population from one generation to the next. The generally flat attainment rates, however, tend to obscure important differences by race/ethnicity and gender, which are the central focus of this report.
Since World War II, women have continued to improve their educational attainment rate, while the rate for young men has stagnated or fallen. The strides made by women are disproportionately driven by Asian-American and white women, while other women of color appear to have come to a standstill among the youngest age group (ages 25 to 34).
This year's Minorities in Higher Education report examines these and other trends, and includes a special essay that provides additional detail about Hispanics—the fastest-growing population and thus a key to the country's educational and economic competitiveness. The essay describes how, contrary to general perceptions, Hispanics are not a homogeneous population. In addition, Hispanic immigrants experience a host of educational disincentives, such as lacking high school credentials, immigrating at an older age, encountering language barriers and pressing economic needs, and for some, lacking legal status. Recognizing these disincentives and understanding their impact are important initial steps in preparing the Hispanic immigrant population to contribute to and share in the future prosperity of the country through higher education.
The report is produced with support from the GE Foundation. The companion CD-ROM contains highlights and supporting charts in presentation slides, along with data tables.
The Minorities in Higher Education report series, which began in 1982, is designed to help gauge progress toward educational excellence and equity for all races/ethnicities and for both men and women in American higher education. The full status report is produced every two years, with updates on selected information provided in a supplement in the intervening years.