CARSON CITY, NV (KXNT) – A new report suggest Latinos in Nevada are making educational gains, but still lag far behind other groups in high school and college graduation rates. Researchers from Georgetown University found that 34 percent of Latinos don’t graduate from high school, compared to five percent of white students. 67 percent of Latinos have a high school diploma or less, compared to 33 percent of whites. Joe Garcia, with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, said the state’s overall economy depends on whether it can succeed in improving the number of people with college degrees.
“In Nevada, they are working hard to increase attainment rates because you can’t grow your economy the way you want to if the majority of your working age population only has a high school degree or less,” said Garcia. You’re simply only going to be able to have low wage jobs. You’re not going to have high tech jobs, you’re not going to have professional jobs,” Garcia said.
Anthony Carnevale, who heads the Georgetown University Center for Education and the Workforce, says as Latinos get more education, their earnings increase and the relative inequality between Latinos and whites goes down. But they’re still not getting paid the same amount.
“They’re not getting the same earnings for the same degrees as whites do,” said Carnevale. “That is irrespective of what major Latinos enroll in, what college they enroll in, or whether they graduate. In the end, they always make less than whites,” Carnevale said.
The report found many more Latinos are getting into college, and their share of the student population has more than doubled at community colleges, and has almost doubled at four year schools. However, the dropout rate is significant, with only nine percent of Latinos in Nevada earning a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 16 percent of black students and 29 percent of white students.