updated 6/24/2004 6:16:46 PM ET 2004-06-24T22:16:46

Hispanic college freshmen were half as likely to finish school and obtain a bachelor’s degree as non-Hispanic whites, a study found.

About 23 percent of the Hispanic freshmen in the study earned their bachelor’s degrees by age 26, compared to 47 percent of white non-Hispanic students, according to the study released Wednesday by the University of Southern California’s Pew Hispanic Center in Washington.

Non-Hispanic blacks also fared worse than whites, with a graduation rate of 30 percent. Asian-American freshmen had a graduation rate of 51 percent, the study said.

Richard Fry, the report’s author, said many factors affected Hispanic students: They were more likely than whites to enroll only part-time, to contribute financially to their families and to live at home rather than on campus.

Living on campus, “you’re probably much more likely to be socially and academically engaged, with school as your first priority,” Fry said.

Hispanics also were likelier to attend community colleges and less-selective four-year schools, where the overall graduation rates are lower, Fry said.

The findings were drawn from a national sampling of 13,000 students who were tracked from 1988, when they were in eighth grade, until 2000.


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