Most STEM Degrees to Latinos Granted From Schools in 6 States

Doris Nhan

Of the top higher education institutions that have granted the most STEM degrees to Latino graduates in the 2009-2010 school year, more than half are concentrated in just six states, according to a new report.

(RELATED GALLERY: Photos of the top U.S.-based institutions in the report)

The report by Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit organization advocating Latino educational success, featured an analysis of institutions awarding certificates or degrees to Latino students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Schools were analyzed based on the number of degrees or certificates granted, then ranked by academic level. There were 25 top rankings in all, though some universities and colleges were listed more than once.

The report comes after legislators have been exploring ways to increase the number of H1-B visas to encourage more highly skilled foreign workers in STEM fields, resulting in the ensuing debates over the validity of importing workers versus increasing resources for educating and attracting more native-born STEM students.

The universities and colleges that made the list come from Texas, Florida, California, Arizona, Nevada and Massachusetts. According to census data, Texas and California are both minority-majority states, and the non-Hispanic white population has fallen below 60 percent in Florida, Arizona and Nevada.

The other institutions granting the most STEM degrees or certificates to Latinos were universities or colleges in Puerto Rico. Nearly 100 percent of its population identifies as Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.

Overall, Latinos earning STEM degrees and certificates made up just 8 percent, and 40 percent of them came from the top 25 institutions listed in the report.

The majority of Latinos earned bachelor’s degrees, but the highest percentage of Latinos received certificates or associate’s degrees. The report also found that Latino graduates tended to land in lower paying jobs.

“Given the relative youth of the Latino population relative to the aging of the U.S. population overall, supporting the increased growth of Latinos with postsecondary credentials in STEM is critical to meeting the projected workforce needs of the nation by 2020,” the report’s authors wrote.