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Research Aims to Close Hispanic College Information Gap

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015   

AUSTIN, Texas - Hispanics have a new tool for choosing a college degree that can translate into higher earnings in the workplace, thanks to three new publications in Spanish from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Anthony Carnevale, the center's director, said getting just any college degree is no longer a guarantee of economic success.

"What's different now is what you make depends on what you take, depends on your field of study," he said. "So it's not just about getting the degree, it's what's your major, what's your field of study - and that's the real lesson in this."

Carnevale said an increasing number of Hispanics are going to college, but most are not enrolling in the highest-paying majors. More than one in five selected International Business, the most popular major - with earnings averaging $51,000 a year. Only 6 percent of Hispanics chose pharmaceutical degrees with $90,000 salaries.

Bethany Boggess, research director for the Texas-based Workers Defense Project, called the publications a lifeline for Hispanic families. She pointed to the center's research showing college graduates with the highest-paying majors can earn $3.4 million more than students who choose the lowest-paying majors.

"But it's not in one of the higher-paying fields that you're going to end up earning far less over a lifetime," she said. "We still have a lot of work to do here in Texas because only 62 percent of Latinos here graduated from high school and just 12 percent actually have a college degree."

Carnevale agreed that Hispanics are not getting the support they need and noted the quality of college counseling is especially poor in minority and low-income communities across the United States. He said he's hopeful the new publications will help families navigate what he calls an explosion of post-secondary education options.

"There's almost more information than people can handle because the variety of different kinds of awards and degrees has grown so much," he said. "So people really need detailed information, and that's what we try to provide."

All three publications are available at the center's website: cew.georgetown.edu. The English version is here and the Spanish version is here.


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