Mar 22, 2022 - World

Study: Pandemic likely exacerbated Latino college gap

Percentage of students who planned to cancel all postsecondary classes for the Fall of 2021, by race or ethnicity
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

A higher percentage of Latino and Black students planned to cancel their college plans in Fall 2021 than their white counterparts, a study found.

Why it matters: Latinos already lag behind in educational attainment, which stunts their upward mobility. The pandemic has likely made the Latino college gap even worse.

By the numbers: The study by the UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative found more than 10% of Latinos planned to cancel college enrollment in Fall 2021, compared to 5.4% of white students.

  • Black students were almost as likely as Latinos to say they intended to cancel their college plans.
  • Over 11% of multi-ethnic students said the same.

Nearly 45% of Latino and Black students who planned to cancel their college plans or reduce courses said so because they could no longer afford college after losing income in the pandemic. About 38% of white students said the same.

  • A report last year found that the fear of debt keeps many Latinos out of college.

But, but, but: "The vaccine rollout cut the share of students who planned to cancel their post-secondary education by more than half across all racial and ethnic groups," the study says.

  • Post vaccine, about 4% of Latinos said they didn't plan on attending college, compared to 1.8% of white students.

What they’re saying: “I think the data shows that Black and Latino students were more likely to say, ‘OK I’m gonna cancel and postpone education because I just don't have enough money to pay for it’ than other groups," director of research Rodrigo Domínguez-Villegas told Axios Latino.

  • “That reveals kind of how important access to financial resources is.”

The big picture: Community colleges and universities have struggled with lower enrollment rates in recent years, especially those that serve large Latino populations.

  • NBC News reported that the number of colleges and universities that are federally designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions — where 25% or more of students are Latino — dropped from 569 in 2020-21 to 559 in 2021-22.
  • Enrollment at community colleges, where a large share of students are Latino, is down nearly 15% since 2019, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Subscribe to Axios Latino and get more news that matters about Latinos and Latin America, delivered right to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Editor's note: This story and headline has been corrected to show that the data reflects the numbers of Latino and Black students who planned to cancel their college plans, not the numbers who did cancel their plans.

Go deeper