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Survey Reveals Black, Hispanic Parents Place High Value on College

by Black Issues

Survey Reveals Black, Hispanic Parents Place High Value on College

WASHINGTON — Compared to White parents, a greater number of African American and Hispanic parents recognize the value of sending a child to college, new national research says.
Data from Public Agenda and the National Center for Postsecondary Improvement says nearly two-thirds of Hispanic parents surveyed say a college education is a requirement for success, more than double the 32 percent rate for White parents. Among African American parents, 44 percent identify a college education as essential for the future.
Those widely held opinions do not translate into meaningful enrollment gains for students of color, however. Only 30 percent of African Americans and 20 percent of Hispanics ages 18 to 24 participate in higher education. Moreover, only 15 percent of African Americans and 11 percent of Hispanics had attained a bachelor’s degree in 1998. The corresponding rate for Whites was 25 percent.
Cost is a main reason some students choose not to go on to higher education, and the survey uncovered distressing news among more than half the parents responding. Overall, 69 percent of those surveyed were “very” or “somewhat” worried about their ability to pay for college. Moreover, a large number of respondents — including many parents of color — had concerns that the current college aid system leaves some children behind.
Sixty percent of African Americans and 59 percent of Hispanics say many children simply do not have the opportunity to go to college, compared to 44 percent of Whites. Parents of all races, however, believe that all qualified and motivated students should not be denied college access because of cost.
“For many non-Hispanic Whites, it is a given that they will go to college,” says Dr. Antonio Flores, president of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.
But not so for students of color.
“They want to go, but they can’t afford it,” Flores says. They may be held back by poverty, language barriers or lack of family experience in higher education.
The survey polled 1,015 adults by telephone in December. An additional 451 Hispanics, Blacks and Whites were included in the sample of parents of high school-age children. The margin of sampling error was 3 percentage points overall, and 7 percentage points for the extra survey of parents.
The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education was another partner in the study, called Great Expectations: How the Public and Parents — White, African-American and Hispanic — View Higher Education. For more information, visit the Web site at  


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