Pipeline Dreams

The idea of generational progress is a powerful principle when one thinks about the American Dream. My parents came to the United States hoping that the lives of their children, and their children’s children, would improve through education and hard work. With close to 50 grand-and-great-grand kids out there doing a lot of different things professionally and academically, I can attest that they’ve not been disappointed.

While progress is being made, some will still argue that Hispanic progress toward economic parity is not improving enough. I have no argument with that – more strides need do need to be made. Hispanics are still one of the most economically disadvantaged groups in the United States, however, it does not mean that they aren’t making progress in the areas of employment, health, and education.

For 20 years, The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine, has been a voice in following the development of Hispanics in the area of education. Debuting in 1990, the magazine has shared some wonderful facts in an article regarding the progress, and lack thereof, Hispanics have made in 20 years. The article provides some excellent reading regarding overall educational attainment and challenges.

From 1992 to 2002 the number of bachelor’s degree recipients doubled among…schools conferring those degrees on Hispanic students. Eleven thousand more Hispanics received bachelor’s degrees from 2002 to 2005. As of 2008, the latest figures from the U.S. Census reveal that 13 percent of the Hispanic population 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher. That same report showed that the number of Hispanics 18 and older who had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2008 was 3.6 million, up from 1.7 million a decade earlier.

One interesting graph shows that Hispanic females are far outpacing Hispanic males in college enrollment. While these numbers still show a significant disparity when compared to overall college enrollment rates, they do indicate progress is being made. There are certainly many more Hispanics in the college education pipeline heading toward the workforce than there were 20 years ago.  Instead of a drip, it’s more like a flow. Is it as fast as we’d like to see? No. But certainly, I would argue that there are a lot of Hispanic parents and grandparents out there liking what they see.