Community Colleges Are Leading Producers of Hispanic Graduates

The journal Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education recently reported that four CUNY community colleges—LaGuardia, Borough of Manhattan, Bronx and Hostos—ranked in the top 50 nationally in granting associate degrees, even though many other community colleges around the nation enroll far more Hispanic students.

Nearly half of all college students in the country attend community colleges, and 55 percent of Hispanic students do, Hispanic Outlook also reported. Total enrollment at two-year colleges is about 10 million; the average student age is 29. And figures from the National Center for Education Statistics show that the number of degrees awarded to Hispanics has risen steadily over the past several decades, from 16,636 in 1976-77 to 51,541 in 1999-2000.

CUNY has contributed to this upward trend. The success rate for Hispanic students was far higher at its colleges than at many similar institutions elsewhere. For instance, 12 percent of the 4,401 Hispanic students at LaGuardia Community College earned degrees in 2001-2002, while only 3.4 percent of the 19,727 Hispanic students at California State, East Los Angeles, received degrees.

LaGuardia awarded 545 degrees to Hispanic students, making it fifth in the country. (There are 42 colleges with larger Hispanic enrollments.) The 454 Hispanic degree earners put BMCC in 11th place; Bronx Community ranked 20th with 372 degrees and Hostos was 45th with 227.

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