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Texas Colleges Graduating High Numbers of Latino Students

A report finds Texas colleges and universities rank near the top when it comes to awarding degrees to Latinos.

UTEP campus on Jan. 31, 2012.

Nine of the top 25 institutions in the nation for awarding associate’s degrees to Latinos in 2009 and 2010 are in Texas, according to a report released Wednesday. And only California matches Texas in the number of institutions that award bachelor's degrees to a large number of Latinos.

Excelencia in Education, a group that promotes higher education for Latinos, released the report as the beginning of a longer project to help employers find Latino graduates. The report ranked higher education institutions across the nation based on the numbers of Latino students awarded degrees at various academic levels — from certificates, to associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and doctoral degrees — in 2009 and 2010.

Texas institutions were top ranked at all academic levels. The University of Texas at El Paso was ranked eighth in the nation in the number of master's degrees awarded and second in the number of bachelor's degrees awarded. El Paso Community College ranked second in the awarding of associate’s degrees to Latinos, and South Texas College ranked fourth. 

Other Texas schools that made the list for awarding Latinos bachelor’s degrees were the University of Texas-Pan American, the University of Texas at San Antonio, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University, the University of Houston, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Brownsville.

The report didn’t address education quality, Deborah Santiago, vice president for policy and research at Excelencia in Education and author of the report, said in a conference call.

Hispanics represented 12 to 13 percent of students enrolled at institutions nationwide in 2009-10, and they earned 10 percent of degrees and certificates in that year, Santiago said. But Latinos tend to be more represented at the certificate level than at the graduate level.

“We see great increase in Latino college completion, but we still see gaps,” Santiago said, comparing the 21 percent of Latinos who have an associate's degree or higher with the 57 percent of Asians, 44 percent of whites and 30 percent of blacks who do. “I think we need to celebrate the progress and know that there’s more to be done in accelerating Latino students’ success."

Emily DeRocco, president of the Manufacturing Institute, the nonprofit affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, said during the a web press conference that 63 percent of jobs in the next decade will require post-secondary education and that there is a need for workers with higher skills.

“We recognize that degrees do matter,” DeRocco said. “It is important to find ways … to provide more on and off-ramps to post-secondary education.”

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