December 6, 2016

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NCES Shares Latest Data on ‘New American’ Students

The number of “New Americans,” or immigrants and the children of immigrants, in U.S. schools has increased significantly in number and proportion, according to the National Center for Education Statistics’ brief report, New American Undergraduates: Enrollment Trends and Age at Arrival of Immigrant and Second-Generation Students, which doesn't come as a surprise.

The report hones in on Asian and Hispanic students, and is broken down by four questions:

  • How has the composition of New American (immigrant and second-generation) undergraduates changed over time? At what ages did immigrant students arrive in the U.S., what is their citizenship status, and how do these characteristics vary by students’ race/ethnicity?
  • How do the background characteristics and academic preparation of Asian and Hispanic New American students differ?
  • What are the postsecondary enrollment characteristics of Asian and Hispanic New American students in terms of the institutions they attend, whether they attend full time, and their major fields of study?
  • How do selected postsecondary enrollment characteristics of immigrant undergraduates vary by the age at which they arrive in the United States?

Key to the report is the examination of students’ age at arrival in the U.S., and how academically prepared students are for college and whether they enrolled in college. As well as the data on college credit earned while in high school by Asian and Hispanic immigrants and second-generation students. 

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The study findings reveal that immigrants’ age at arrival in the U.S., and their age of postsecondary enrollment are related and that immigrants who arrived as children (under age 12), were more likely than those who arrived as adolescents or adults, to earn college credit or AP credits in high school and less likely to need to need a developmental course in college. This implies that those who arrive as children have more time and opportunity to prepare for college, according to the brief.

Immigrants arriving in the U.S. as children and adolescents were also more likely to attend postsecondary institutions full-time, than adult immigrants were.

Another important chart to take a look at is the Major Field of Study by Age at Arrival, which shows that immigrants who arrived as children and adolescents majored in STEM fields and social studies at a higher rate than those who arrived as adults. Conversely, a higher percentage of adult arrivals majored in health care fields.  

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