Gap in education is making America less competitive, ASU president tells Hispanic leaders' conference
The United States will never reclaim its position as the world’s top economic superpower unless more Hispanic people earn college degrees, according to Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University.
Currently, the higher-education attainment gap between Hispanic people and the total U.S. population is too wide and likely to increase unless radical changes are made, Crow said at a presentation to the annual conference of NALEO on Friday. The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for Latino participation in the American political process.
About 34 percent of the overall adult population has a bachelor’s degree, compared with about 17 percent of Hispanic adults, Crow said.
There will be 100 million people of Hispanic origin in the U.S. by 2060, he noted. “That’s almost larger than Mexico,” he said.
“This is an unbelievable economic opportunity and mechanism for the building of energy in the United States."
Crow said he calculated that if Hispanic people earned bachelor’s degrees at the same rate as the national average, it would add 1.5 percentage points to the rate of national economic growth.
If nothing changes, the attainment gap will widen by 2050, with 52 percent of the overall population having a degree compared with 31 percent of Hispanics.
“The U.S. is under-realizing its full economic competitiveness because it has very uneven outcomes in the educational attainment levels of its children,” he said.
Closing the gap would require an additional 64,000 Hispanic college graduates every year.
“There are no mechanisms in place to achieve that goal right now,” he said. “Just the opposite. Universities are not redesigning themselves.”