Hispanics' Schooling:

Risk Factors for Dropping Out and Barriers to Resuming Their Education

PEMD-94-24: Published: Jul 24, 1994. Publicly Released: Jul 24, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on: (1) the extent of the school dropout problem among Hispanics; and (2) which Hispanic students are most at risk of dropping out.

GAO found that: (1) in 1990, the dropout rate for Hispanic students between the ages of 16 and 24 was 30 percent; (2) although the dropout rates for blacks and whites are significantly lower and have been declining over the last two decades, the Hispanic student dropout rate has remained significantly high; (3) although dropout rates are not uniform by country of origin, foreign-born Hispanics have a much higher dropout rate than U.S.-born Hispanics; (4) the risk of dropping out of school is higher for 16- and 17-year-old Hispanics who are limited in English-speaking ability, from poor families, and either married or mothers; (5) of the 1.15 million Hispanic dropouts in 1990, 70 percent were of Mexican origin, 10 percent were of Puerto Rican origin, and 70 percent lived in either California, Texas, or New York; (6) it could not determine how many young Hispanic dropouts intended to remain in the United States to complete their high-school education or obtain an equivalency certificate; (7) the barriers Hispanic dropouts face in completing their education include a lack of English skills, low-income backgrounds, and numerous out-of-school obligations; and (8) survey findings suggest that Hispanic students drop out at similar rates as non-Hispanic students with similar backgrounds.

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