A Pew Hispanic Center study last year revealed that the rate of Hispanic college enrollment grew by 24% from 2009 to 2010, driving enrollment among total U.S. 18- to-24-year-olds to an all-time high of 12.2 million. According to this study, 32% of Latinos in this age group were enrolled in college – up from 27% in 2009 and 13% in 1972. Much of this growth was at community colleges. Among young Hispanics in college in 2010, 46% were at two-year colleges and 54% were at four-year colleges.

The study cites a few reasons for the increase. First, the population of young Hispanics has grown at a faster rate than other demographics. Second, more young Latinos are finishing high school and eligible for college. In 2010, 73% graduated from high school – up from 70% in 2009. The share of young Hispanic high school grads attending college also rose, from 39% in 2009 to 44% in 2010. Third, the pace of enrollment has risen since the recession first began in 2007. Historically high unemployment levels are leading more young Latinos to higher education.

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