WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The number of Hispanic students in four-year U.S. colleges topped 2 million in 2011, making them the biggest minority group, a report released Tuesday said.
The Pew Hispanic Center analyzed data from the U.S. Census and found the number of Hispanics in school is up at all levels from kindergarten to university. In public schools, 23.9 percent of students were Hispanic in 2011.
Pew researchers Richard Fry and Mark Hugo Lopez said there are two major reasons for the large number of Hispanics in four-year colleges and universities. One is the rising number of Hispanics in the population and the other is that more Hispanics than ever are graduating from high school and going on to college.
While 16.5 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic, Hispanics are 20 percent of those in the 18-24 age group. In 2011, 16.5 percent of all college students and 13.1 percent of those at four-year institutions were Hispanic, so they are still somewhat underrepresented.
In the 18-24 age group, 76.3 percent of Hispanics had a high school diploma or GED in 2011, up from 72.8 percent in 2010. A record 45.6 percent of young Hispanics who had a diploma were enrolled in college.