Hispanics are now the largest minority group at four-year colleges in the U.S., and comprise 25 percent of the nation’s public elementary school students, according to analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center.

The report, “Hispanic Student Enrollments Reach New Highs in 2011,” written by Richard Fry and Mark Hugo Lopez, shows the number of 18- to 24-year-old Hispanics enrolled in college exceeded 2 million and reached a record 16.5 percent share of all college enrollments. Hispanics have been the country’s largest minority group on four-year and two-year college campuses since 2010.

In the public schools, one in four (24.7 percent) elementary school students is Hispanic. Among all pre-K through 12th grade U.S. public school students, a record 23.9 percent were Hispanic in 2011.

Hispanic population gains have helped drive Hispanic student enrollment during the past four decades, but that doesn’t explain all the enrollment gains made by Hispanic students in recent years. Record high school completion rates have made more Hispanics than ever eligible to attend college. A record 46 percent are enrolled in a two- or four-year college.

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