U.S. Hispanic Students Are Transforming Higher Education

  • December 15, 2020

The pandemic has thrown a curveball at the world, and we’ve all had to adapt our business and our lives to adjust to the new needs. Higher education institutions were some of the first to shift to virtual programming in early March, followed by the rest of the nation. As they continue to adapt to the continued health risk, colleges are shifting their value proposition to focus on student needs: freezing or lowering tuition, and opening new paths to education, with virtual and hybrid courses. 

Still, according to November 2020 data from the National Student Clearinghouse, there is a decline of students returning to schools this past fall: 4% fewer undergraduate students returned to 4-year for-profit schools, and the decline is even steeper for community colleges. This COVID-19 impact has pushed schools to adopt new marketing methods to break away from the “sameness” we’ve seen in educational advertising. Digital college fairs and close-to-home messaging have shown positive results for a number of students, according to the Ad Age article Higher Ed Gets A Lesson On Marketing During The Pandemic. In this publication, marketers shared methods to push recruitment while facing new challenges. 

While the interviewed schools’ responses have shown that they have been fairly successful in weathering the pandemic, the truth is that, even before March 2020, the overall enrollment was declining for all segments except one: the U.S. Hispanic population. Hispanics were the only group that showed a positive year-over-year change in Fall 2019 with a 1.4% increase in enrollment (National Student Clearinghouse). 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, School Enrollment Supplement Files, 1996-2016

As a Hispanic marketing agency, Captura Group recognizes the power of Hispanic students as a path to recovery for higher education. Pew Research reports that 25% of US Gen Z is Hispanic. The decade of climbing college enrollment rates by Hispanics, across all degree programs, is the driving force for Gen Z to be the most educated generation yet.

As the largest minority group, Hispanic students’ 2-year impact is net -4% enrollment in undergraduate programs, minimal compared to the -12.4% and -12.1% for White and Black students respectively since 2019. Conversely, postgraduate programs are thriving, with Hispanics pushing growth at the highest levels of any demographic group, enrolling at a 13% increase this semester (National Student Clearinghouse). 

Source: National Student Clearinghouse, Fall 2020 Enrollment

Engaging and recruiting Hispanic students is crucial for higher education institutions in their path to recovery and growth. Doing so effectively requires expertise and a deep understanding of the social, economic, and cultural context of the Hispanic population.

Captura Group is a Hispanic and digital-first full-service agency obsessed with helping brands succeed in a multicultural world. We leverage the power of innovation and cultural intelligence to accelerate growth for our clients. Captura Group is a certified Minority & Woman-Owned Enterprise.

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