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In 1990, there were more than 2.3 million immigrant students in U.S. schools and colleges and that number has since increased. This study represents the first effort to systematically describe and analyze the educational experience and performance of immigrant students at all levels of schooling. The authors find that immigrant children are as likely as native-born children to be in primary and middle schools but are less likely to attend high school. Once in high school, however, they are more likely to take college preparatory courses and to attend college after they graduate. Hispanic immigrants are the least likely to attend high school and college, a finding consistent with differences among racial/ethnic groups for the native born as well. Because Hispanics are rapidly becoming the nation's largest minority, their level of education will strongly affect the quality of the future labor force and the demand for public services. The authors argue that this is cause for concern and suggest strategies for encouraging both immigrant and native-born Hispanics to get more schooling.

The project was sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the RAND Institute on Education and Training with funds from the Lilly Endowment.

This report is part of the RAND monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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