Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

WICHE Report Shows Dip in College Enrollments but More Minority Applicants

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

WICHE Report Shows Dip in College Enrollments but More Minority Applicants

Article excerpt

Not Asurprisiiigty given our nation's changing demographics, the eighth edition of Knocking at the College Dour: Projections of High School Graduales report, released Jm 10, 2013, by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), shows that by 2020, while the number of White and Black high school graduates will decline, the number of Hispanic and Asian-American/Pacific Islander graduates will rise significantly, Knocking at the College Door is a report that has been projecting demographic changes for the last three decades,

"The landscape of American higher education has changed rapidly in recent years and will continue to do so into llie future. Simple demographics suggest that some stales and regions will continue to see increases in the number of high school graduates, while others will see declines. In addition, the composition of our graduating classes will continue to change with increasing numbers and shares of the population coming from communities of color land White Hispanics I . In tills publication we use contemporary demographic projection techniques to capture the impact of these changes on the si«: and racial/ethnic composition of high school graduating classes in each state, four geographic regions, and the nation as a whole." (Foreword, vii)

Why is such an analysis significant for our nation? The success of the higher education system depends upon knowing and understanding the pool of postsecondary college enrollees. Colleges and universities must know the needs of their incoming students to guide them towards earning a tlegree. Tn fact, how well our colleges and universities educate and graduate these high school graduates affects our nation in a host of meaningful ways, as for example, "a healthy citizenry and a civil society'' (Executive Summary, xij, and will determine our nation's status in an increasingly global economy.

America's status in the world is already in jeopardy having slipped to 16th place in the share of its young adult population that has earned college degrees. Higher education is essential for entry into a middle-class life in America and necessary to economic competitiveness in the world. WICHE supports what several researchers have been saying, that is, providing quality higher education for more students and increasing college graduation rates is vitally important. ? global economy demands an increasingly competitive labor market which in turn requires high-level skills and innovation. Postsecondary educational attainment ''is a profoundly important signal of the capabilities of both individuals and societies." (Executive Summary, xi)

Although colleges are seeing rising numbers of older adults enrolling, this report focuses specifically on high school graduates. The reason is that while the older adult student participation continues to grow, our nation must increase the percentage of young high school graduates who enter colleges and universities and who successfully complete dieir degrees. There arc three major factors related ?? Ulis necessity:

"[This must happen] if we are to regañí our competitive advantages in education and economic vitality worldwide. Second, we can only reduce the unfortunate and persistent equity gaps within our country by assuring that students of color [and White Hispanic students] substantially increase their rates of graduation from lugli school, participation in college, ajid success in completing college. Third, many of our colleges will continue to rely heavily on recent high school graduates for a substantial portion of their student bodies, and these institutions need to know what the likely applicant pool will look like." (Foreword, vii)

Over the next few years, we'll see the end of a two-decade overall college-enrollment boom - the pool of high school students will continue its slight decline on a national level but not in every state and region. The number of high school graduates overall seems to have peaked in the 2010-1 1 academic year with all four regions of the country seeing shortterm declines in their raw numbers. …

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