Study Suggests Hispanic College Graduates Earn Less than Whites

A recent study by Georgetown University revealed that choosing the right major in college is especially important for Hispanics, who annually earn up to $36,000 less than white and Asian college graduates.

Even with a degree in mechanical engineering, with which Hispanics earn the highest salary at $70,000, graduates still received $13,000 less than their white counterparts.

But the study also suggests that even when Hispanics traditionally make less than other ethnic groups, Latina women may be at a greater disadvantage. In general, women choose majors that offer a lower-paying salary, like education, social work and art. Among chemical engineering, which is one highest-paying majors, women make $20,000 less a year compared to men with the same qualifications. If you are a teacher, you may be making $3,000 less than the male professor in the classroom down the hall.

What’s It Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors was completed from data collected in a 2009 Census survey that for the first time requested information on college majors. The report analyzed earnings originating from 171 majors, and found that on average petroleum engineering majors have the highest paying salary ($120,000), compared to the lowest, psychology majors, who earn about $29,000.

"It's important that you go to college and get a (bachelor's degree), but it's almost three to four times more important what you take," Anthony Carnevale, the director of Georgetown's Center on Education and the Workforce, told the AP. "The majors that are most popular are not the ones that make the most money."

Just last month, a report from the U.S. Department of Labor revealed that less than 17 percent of Hispanics have a college degree, compared to 36 percent among whites. But while we want to motivate more Latino youth to attend and graduate from college, this latest study allows mentors, siblings and padres to get a better picture of what awaits our college graduates. This can help us guide them in making more informed decisions about their chosen field.