AUSTIN (KXAN) — The rising costs of college may be a factor in the widening gap of Latino students not completing their degrees, according to a national survey.

According to a study by Excelencia in Education, 28% of Latino adults (25 and over) had earned an associate’s degree or higher compared to 48% of white adults.

The analysis found “For the U.S. to regain the top ranking in the world for college degree attainment, Latinos will need to earn 6.2 million degrees by 2030.”

Native Austinite Licelda Briones, the first in her family to go to college, said the Young Hispanic Professional Association of Austin (YHAPA) is working to make a difference with scholarships.

“I know it’s hard to figure it out,” said Briones, describing the financial burden many families face to pay for college. “We are helping to raise funds, helping create new leaders.”

On September 16, YHAPA will award several students with scholarships.

“We’re wanting to see the representation that we want to see out here in Austin,” said Briones.

The group fundraises throughout the year to award the scholarships. Its biggest fundraiser is a gala, this year it will be emceed by KXAN’S Sally Hernandez.

YHAPA leaders are asking people to buy tickets to the gala to help invest in the scholarship fund and in Austin’s growing Latino population.

“Hopefully the students that we pick will reinvest what they have, as far as the time their efforts, their leadership skills back into their Austin community.”

Tickets for the gala can be purchased online.