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October 11, 2017

A new Georgetown University study shows Latinos are lagging behind their black and white peers in college completion rates and as a result find themselves stuck in middle-wage jobs.

The Georgetown study finds only 21 percent of Latinos in the United States have bachelor's degrees. That's compared to 32 percent of blacks and 45 percent of whites.

Lead researcher Tony Carnevale says even when Latinos do graduate, they are less likely to work in jobs requiring a college degree.

"[Latinos] are stuck in the overcrowded and under-funded two-year and four-year colleges," Carnevale said. "The consequences of that are low success rates and lower return on their college degrees when they enter the labor market."

The study also found only 15 percent of Latinos enroll in one of the country's 500 most selective colleges that tend to have higher graduation rates.

The study notes that Latina women are the lowest earning major demographic group in the country, even though they have higher completion rates compared to Latino men at every level of post-secondary education.  Researchers found Latina women need to earn two additional degrees in order to have median earnings similar to white men. 

Carnevale says Latino's face, what he calls, "a substantial networking problem" and lingering discrimination.

The study isn't all bad news, however. It shows race-based earning gaps close for Latinos with at least a bachelor's degrees who are working in high-wage occupations in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

Read the full report here.

increasing access and success, higher ed, Georgetown University

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