Identifying Latino Student Success: Identifying Top- and Bottom-Performing Institutions

As the Latino population in this nation has increased over the past few decades, there has been a dramatic surge in the numbers of Latino students pursuing postsecondary credentials and degrees on college and university campuses across the country. In addition, graduation rates for Latino students at four-year institutions have been steadily increasing since 2002. Today, 53.6 percent of new Latino students who enroll full-time at a four-year institution complete a bachelor’s degree within six years, compared to only 45.7 percent in 2002.

While these gains are important to acknowledge and celebrate, it is also fair to point out that progress has been far too slow, and a 10 percentage point gap still remains between the graduation rate of Latino students and their White peers. This gap in degree completion is partly the result of systemic disadvantages that many Latinos face in various aspects of their lives, especially in schooling experiences, which make the quest for a college degree more difficult.

In a new report by Ed Trust’s Andrew Nichols, researchers look beyond national averages to understand and highlight patterns in student success at specific four-year institutions. They identify top-performing colleges and universities from which other institutions could potentially learn a great deal, and identify underperforming institutions that need to get far more serious about success rates for Latino students.

The bulk of this analysis focuses on 613 public and nonprofit private nonspecialized institutions. These institutions enroll nearly 85 percent of all first-time, full-time Latino students enrolled at four-year campuses.

EdTrust found 10 institutions that have significantly higher-than-average graduation rates for Latino students and little to no completion rate gap between Latino and White students. These institutions defy the notion that student outcomes are determined by the incoming characteristics of the students that colleges and universities admit.

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