Hispanic enrollment up nationwide, reaches 23% at UT

Sarah White

[Corrected on Monday, August, 29, 2011 at 10:47 p.m.: removed second graf]

UT is following a national trend with increased Hispanic undergraduate enrollment, according to the Office of Admissions and the Pew Hispanic Center.

Hispanic nationwide college enrollment grew by 349,000, or 24 percent, from 2009 to 2010, the latest year data is available, according to a Pew Hispanic Center report released last week based on 2010 US Census data. UT’s Hispanic undergraduate enrollment increased by 410, or about 6 percent, during the same time period, according to the 2010-2011 Statistical Handbook. However, for the 2010 school year Hispanics made up 15 percent of the national undergraduate population, while they comprised 23 percent of UT’s undergraduate population.

“If trends continue, the University may be designated a Hispanic Serving Institution by federal definition in two to three years,” said Rose Martinez, executive director for UT Outreach of South Texas and Pre-College Hispanic Initiatives. One requirement an institution must meet to fit the federal definition of a Hispanic Serving Institution is an undergraduate population of at least 25 percent full-time Hispanic students.

Martinez said UT’s Hispanic population growth can be attributed to an increase in Texas’ Hispanic population and efforts by UT faculty to recruit first-time college students from Latino communities in Texas.

“The University has a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how we are serving our [Latino] population and to highlight how the campus culture has become richer and more inclusive of multiracial and multilingual communities,” Martinez said.

National Hispanic enrollment grew because of population growth and “rising educational attainment,” said Richard Fry, Senior Research Associate at the Pew Hispanic Center, in the report.

“However, population growth accounts for only a share of the 24 percent young Hispanic college enrollment spike from 2009 to 2010,” Fry said.

Johnny Moreno, vice president of the Hispanic Student Association, a UT service organization, said people in the group have noticed increased interest in the organization recently.

Printed on Monday, August 29, 2011 as: Hispanic college enrollment increases nationally.