Best Schools for Latinos
Story By: Kristian Jaime
Aside from purchasing a home, deciding where to attend college is one of the most long-term and costliest investments most individuals will make in their lifetime.
Increasingly competitive job markets also demand the right academic credentials to more aptly begin a career track. Yet for minorities like Latinos, only 15 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher according to recent data by the Pew Research Center. There are numerous circumstances as to why the largest minority block in the United States is also one of the most educationally underserved.
Yet there are also numerous reasons why some academic institutions better serve Hispanic students. They include: the percentage of total Latino enrollment and the percentage of Latino faculty, the percentage of students who apply and receive financial aid, academic resources for minority students to acclimate to academic rigors of college life and outreach efforts by schools to add to their overall diversity.
Institutional information provided by universities, along with independent sources like the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), joined data by U.S. News and World Report and other reporting agencies all served as basis for the research methodology in compiling the top 50 universities for Latinos. The list of Colleges and Universities we’re presenting in the following pages, along with interviews and chats with some academic leaders, are institutions that have excelled in their performance, outreach and academic level in their relation with the Latino student population of the Country.
With a petite enrollment of 1,795, 13 percent of the student body at Amherst is Hispanic. Located in Amherst, Massachusetts, 58 percent of students receive need-based financial aid, 23 percent receive Pell Grants and 17 percent are the first members of their families to attend college. The average annual financial aid package is more than $50,000. The Office of Admission hosts two weekend Diversity Open Houses to introduce prospective applicants to Amherst’s campus, student body, faculty, classes and residence halls. Diversity interns are current Amherst students who work with the Office of Admissions to reach out to prospective students from different cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Arizona State University
With a main campus in Tempe, the public university boasts an undergraduate Hispanic student population of 19 percent. It also includes a 12 percent Hispanic faculty population, along with a comprehensive diversity initiative from the Office of Inclusion and Community Engagement. The Southwest Borderlands Initiative strengthens existing Arizona State University scholarly and instructional resources in the Southwest with an emphasis on the region along the United States-Mexico border. It also enhances institutional recruitment and retention efforts toward building a faculty fully reflective of the Southwest Borderlands’ diversity. The other is the Graduate Education Diversity Resources, which includes scholarships, career development, mentoring and other support for graduate students and undergraduates on a path toward graduate school.
Situated in north Texas, Baylor is routinely rated as a top university in the country by numerous publications. Thirty-four percent of the freshman class is minority students, and 93 percent of Baylor students receive some form of financial assistance. The 142 undergraduate degree programs, 75 master’s programs and 42 doctoral programs are assets for Latino students who want both high academic standards and proximity to their families, who live primarily in the Lone Star State. The school has a Hispanic Student Association to foster an enriching experience of the Hispanic culture, heritage and traditions in the Baylor and Waco communities while empowering and supporting students with their personal development, and advocating for a diverse and inclusive environment.
Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Belmont only admits 7,723 students, with an average of 5 percent being Latino. The Study Abroad in Turkey Scholarship for Minority Students is just one of the opportunities to see the world with Belmont. The Turkish Coalition of America, in cooperation with Diversity Abroad, awards grants for undergraduate and graduate students who have been accepted to a study abroad program in Turkey or Cyprus for an academic year, semester or summer. The Institute for International Public Policy Fellowship Program aims to increase the representation of minorities in international affairs and global public policy in the government, private and non-profit sectors. Global policy institutes and subsequent study abroad experience, with a focus on international affairs.
California State University – Los Angeles
CSULA may not be as well known as the more famous universities in Los Angeles, but the estimated 27,681 students are impressively diverse, with a 60 percent Hispanic enrollment. The school also includes 27 percent Hispanics on its faculty. Cal State LA has once again earned national recognition for graduating Latino students who go on to earn Ph.D.s in science and engineering fields. Between bachelor’s and master’s granting institutions in the continental U.S, Cal State LA is No. 1 for producing Latino doctorates in the areas of chemistry, physics, mathematics and statistics, computer sciences, biological sciences, and engineering, according to data compiled by the National Science Foundation.
A total of 4,265 students call CC their academic home. For the 28 percent of Hispanic students, the private, nonprofit institution has specialized in adult learning, with five satellite locations across the country. Cambridge College is a center of ethnic diversity, with over 65 percent of its students being members of a minority group. Students of different ethnic backgrounds flourish at Cambridge due to the inclusive culture that produces a positive educational experience. Tuition is less than the cost of the average four-year college and over 60 percent of students receive financial aid.
Christian Brothers University
The Memphis, Tennessee-based university is among the smallest on the list with 1,842 students. Seven percent of them are Hispanic, with 72 percent of all students receiving some form of financial aid. The Latino Student Success Program is a multi-faceted approach to assisting Hispanic students during their time at CBU. The LSS program is made possible by a private grant that will fund the program over the next seven years. In fall of 2014, several Latino students at CBU founded a student-run organization called Hola CBU to meet the unique needs of Latino students in the CBU community. Partnerships with Latino Memphis, a local agency that assists Latinos in the Greater Memphis area, assist students by connecting them with resources, collaborating and advocating for health, education and justice.
City University of New York – Brooklyn College
At 17,390 students, Brooklyn College boasts 20 percent Hispanic enrollment and a 10 percent Hispanic faculty. The university offers the Gates Millennium Scholarship for minority students. It also offers the HACE Scholarship, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, LULAC National Scholastic Achievement Award, the New Mexico Alliance Scholarship and the Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship, to name a few. The Black and Latino Male Initiative have always been to increase the number of black and Latino males who enroll in and graduate from the college. To achieve that goal, it addresses just about every aspect of the students’ lives. In the strictly academic realm, it provides peer mentoring, tutoring and access to an all-purpose writing tutor.
California State University – Long Beach
The network of California state universities has one of the most comprehensive diversity plans in the nation. Cal State-Long Beach is no exception, with over 37 percent making up their Hispanic student body. The Office of Equity & Diversity aims to promote full consideration of all members of all minorities in recruitment, selection, advancement, promotion and retention. Also, they facilitate, monitor, evaluate and ensure compliance pertaining to equal educational and employment. Hispanic tenured track faculty has increased from 4 percent to 7 percent. Recruiting diverse faculty and staff included race, ethnicity, bilingual or multilingual knowledge, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion and ability, among other cultural identities and experiences.
Colorado State University – Pueblo
CSU Pueblo is one of Colorado’s smaller state schools with 5,000 total students, but it is home to an estimated 29 percent Hispanic students. CSU-Pueblo President Lesley Di Mare said 835 freshmen enrolled this fall, an increase of 5.4 percent over the previous year. The freshmen class hails from 30 states and 12 countries and includes 44 additional non-resident students, with notable increases in New Mexico, Arizona and Hawaii. More than 55 percent of the freshmen class reported being from a minority group. The overall student population represents 43 states and 35 countries.
Dixie State University
While the name would imply a traditional southern university, it is actually located in St. George, Utah. Dixie State has a total enrollment of 8,350 students, with 9 percent of them Hispanic. The Multicultural Diversity Center has several outreach mechanisms, such as the Student Leadership Program to engage students in co-curricular and extracurricular experiences as a way of enhancing their collegiate experience. The mission is committed to training and advising multicultural student leaders with learning, service and extracurricular opportunities; provide leadership training; promote school spirit; create unity and a unique Dixie culture; and offer a voice to underrepresented members of the student body.
Emporia State University
Named after the city in Kansas where it is located, ESU is one of the smaller schools on the list with a total enrollment of 6,094. While its Hispanic student population is just 7 percent, officials say that is considerable for a school of its size. While their out-of state tuition of $18,524 matches many other schools’ regular price tag, 62 percent receive financial aid and 61 percent have their financial needs met. Outreach programs include the Latino Leadership Initiative, a one-day conference for Latino high-schoolers. This free conference consists of speakers, workshops, meals and an opportunity to compete for a book scholarship sponsored by our very own Hispanic American Leadership Organization (HALO).
Florida International University
With 67 percent Hispanics, the student population of 54,000 also includes a 45 percent Latino faculty rate. FIU is currently first in the nation in awarding bachelor's and master's degrees to Hispanic students. The Hispanic Law Students Association’s mission is to articulate and promote the professional needs and goals of law students of Hispanic descent, while utilizing legal skills and training to bring about meaningful changes in the legal community. For that reason, it is also ranked first in passing rate for the College of Law on the Florida Bar Exam in 2015 and 2016.
Georgia Southern University
The university is located in Statesboro, Georgia, and has a total enrollment of 20,459 students. While only 5 percent of students are Hispanic, the school offers an innovative Diversity Peer Educator program. As Diversity Peer Educators, their mission is to increase awareness, knowledge and skills necessary to create change and engage in helpful conversations about diversity, inclusion and fairness. That also means articulating their individual impact on social justice education and their role in supporting diversity awareness and inclusion at Georgia Southern University. GSU also features the Minority Advisement Program as a unique college success program for incoming minority students. It matches freshmen and transfer students with upperclassmen to help them acclimate to college life.
Hillsborough Community College
The Florida-based community college has 44,419 students, with 28 percent being Hispanic. Diversity efforts include providing advice and consultation for enrollment and completion of a diverse student body; serving as a conduit to communicate individual department and campus concerns/needs/initiatives in the area of diversity; acting as “diversity ambassadors” — model behaviors and practice skills that demonstrate a respect for differences — and promote full inclusion; and reviewing existing diversity initiatives and submit recommendations. HCC includes more than 70 workforce programs designed to provide applicable skills in a changing job market.
Located in North Manchester, Indiana, this university only includes 1,600 enrolled students, 5 percent of whom are Hispanic. Although MU is perhaps the smallest school on the list, it has a comprehensive diversity plan. That includes an aggressive recruitment of a diverse student body, concerted and intentional efforts to diversify faculty and staff, and diversity across the curriculum through the Academic Affairs and an Intercultural Center that serves as a resource center for the different cultural groups on campus. Hispanos Unidos (Hispanics United) is a support organization for students interested in learning more about and sharing Hispanic culture. Hispanos Unidos meets weekly throughout the semester.
MDC is another school on the list that is overwhelmingly Hispanic. The student body is 71 percent Latino, while 55 percent of the faculty is Hispanic. That also includes 38 percent of students who claim Spanish as their native language. Just a year ago, MCD enrolled a whopping 92,085 students. The latest honor for their efforts came from the American Association of Community Colleges, which conferred upon MDC its Advancing Diversity Award for its significant contributions — over a sustained period of time — to advancing diversity in community college leadership, the community and within higher education as a whole.
Nevada State College
This educational gem is located in Henderson, Nevada, and is the only four-year, comprehensive public institution in the state. Total enrollment is only 3,534 students, with 22 percent of them Hispanic. The Office of Community Engagement & Diversity seeks to promote a campus culture that values diversity in all its forms. That includes supporting diversity of faculty, staff and administrative and executive leadership across campus; strengthening recruitment, retention, achievement and graduation of diverse students; creating diversity education for professional development for college employees related to diversity; strengthening and promoting curricular and co-curricular programs related to diversity.
New Mexico State University
Situated in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the school includes 15,490 students, with 50 percent of them Hispanic. It is a highly regional student body, where 77 percent apply for financial aid and 64 percent receive funds. Thirty-nine percent of their faculty is Hispanic, making the cultural transition to college life much easier. As a Hispanic Serving Institution, NMSU qualifies for federal funds towards scholarships under Title III and Title V programs. NMSU also received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.
New York University
Based in New York City, NYU totals 57,245 students, with Hispanics making up an average of 11 percent. Its varied undergraduate and graduate programs include a law school complete with a Latino Law Student Association. LaLSA supports Latino/a students and provides opportunities for NYU School of Law students to be a part of and serve the wider Latino community. They help students adjust to the demands of law school by offering programs that focus on professional and academic development, and providing a network of friends and alumni. At the same time, LaLSA mentors Latino children in low-income neighborhoods and provides bilingual assistance to adults.
Northern Illinois University
Located 65 miles west of Chicago, NIU is among the most diverse universities in the region, with a student population of 16 percent African American and 15 percent Hispanic. The office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion even convenes the Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities. The office’s goal is to advise the president on the status of minority students, faculty and staff, and make recommendations to improve the quality of life and opportunities for NIU minorities. The Latino Resource Center focuses on student-centered service by developing partnerships focused on student learning while establishing an inclusive community that builds collaborative relationships across campus and the surrounding community.
Northern Kentucky University
The university is located in Highland Heights, Kentucky, and has 15,114 students enrolled. While it only has a 3 percent Hispanic student population, it does offer educational diversity scholarships that may provide up to full tuition. With 64 percent getting some sort of financial aid, 65 percent say it covers their needs. NKU also offers Latino achievers program aimed at multiracial effort to promote self-esteem and provide mentoring to at-risk youth in the Greater Cincinnati area. It helps address the growing need for mentors who can give students of color exposure to educational and career opportunities, as well as influence the path they will take in their lives.
Our Lady of Lake University
The seminal San Antonio university has only 3,334 total students. With 70 percent undergraduate Hispanic students and another 49 percent in the faculty, the majority of the student body originates from Texas. Among area private universities, OLLU students graduate with the lowest average debt, according to U.S. News and World Report rankings. In addition, OLLU is No. 38 in the West for providing need-based aid to students. OLLU is tops among local universities and 10th in the West for economic diversity; it ranks 33rd in the West for campus ethnic diversity.
San Diego State University
With total enrollment topping 35,000, SDSU is one of the most diverse campuses, with 28 percent from Hispanic backgrounds. It is also one of the premier schools in the Southwest, with the majority of students in business and science. SDSU has become only the third public research university in California to also receive HSI designation and one of approximately 300 nationally. SDSU had the largest improvement in graduation rates in the nation in the most recent six-year period, improving from 44 percent in 2003 to 61 percent in 2008. SDSU’s current six-year graduation rate is 65.7 percent and 61.3 percent for students of color, virtually closing the achievement gap.
San Francisco State University
San Francisco is home to more than the Golden Gate Bridge, with SFSU totaling 30,256 students. Its Hispanic population is an estimated 33 percent, with the faculty including another 10 percent. San Francisco State University ranks among the top master’s-level universities in the western U.S. for ethnic and economic diversity, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” rankings. SF State placed particularly well for ethnic diversity, tying for sixth place on the magazine's diversity index, which measures the proportion of minority students in the student body. Among rankings of international student populations, SF State also tied for sixth out of 87 western schools, with 7 percent of students on campus coming from foreign countries.
Located in the hamlet of Kerrville, Texas, the total enrollment stands at only 2,545. Yet Schreiner has an impressive 32 percent Hispanic student population. Furthermore, 10 percent of the faculty is Hispanic on a campus that is small but dynamic. SU is a Title V recipient, a prestigious grant awarded to Hispanic Serving Institutions to enhance academic offerings, program quality and institutional stability. These funds can be used for scientific and laboratory teaching equipment; construction or renovation of instructional facilities; purchasing educational materials; academic tutoring or counseling programs; endowment funds; distance learning academic instruction; faculty development; and student support services.
Southern Illinois University
SIU joins it northern cousin with a Latino student body of about 20 percent. With 70 percent of its students receiving financial aid, an astounding 60 percent say their financial needs were met. The Hispanic/Latino Resource Center, a unit of the Dean of Students, promotes academic success within the SIU Latino community by sharing resources and spearheading programming that promotes cultural affirmation, persistence and community engagement. SIU also was awarded the 2015 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award. As part of the Office of Associate Chancellor for Diversity, the Underrepresented Tenure Track Faculty Program provides guidance and assistance to new minority faculty to help them navigate the tenure track.
Southern Methodist University
SMU totals 11,739 students in Dallas, Texas, 12 percent of whom are Hispanic. The Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI) is a national center of excellence that helps participating companies recruit, develop and retain high-performance Latino executives who will drive business growth and create a sustainable competitive advantage for their companies. The LLI hosts two annual symposiums, each focusing on topics relevant to the Latino workforce and market. In addition, nationally recognized experts on Latino talent management, and community engagement will be featured through quarterly webinars. This innovative experience prepares participants for success in their first managerial positions and equips them to progress into higher levels of responsibility.
St. Augustine College
St. Augustine College is the first bilingual institution of higher education in Illinois under the auspices of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. With total enrollment topping 1,638 students, 87 percent are Hispanic. An average of 90 percent of students receive financial aid and, along with the main campus, it also includes South, West and Southeast campuses. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) honored St. Augustine College with the Outstanding Hispanic Serving Institution HACU-Member Award just three years ago. The College founders reacted to observation and research that indicated that a large number of Hispanic adults, because of specific circumstances, could avail themselves of bilingual academic and vocational career training.
Of the 16,122 total enrollment, 16 percent of Stanford’s students are Hispanic. The DARE (Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence) Doctoral Fellowship Program awards two-year fellowships to advanced Stanford doctoral students from diverse backgrounds who want to investigate and prepare for academic careers. EDGE (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education) Fellowships aim to support the recruitment and retention of doctoral students in their first two years who have the potential to contribute to diversity in their academic fields and departments. Stanford has been part of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program, for sophomores interested in pursuing academic careers that address the educational consequences of racial and ethnic disparities in higher education.
St. John’s University
Located in New York, SJU is home to a total of 20,881 students. With 14 percent of total enrollment Hispanic, it is one of the most diverse schools on the East Coast. The mission of Diversity Peer Education Program is to help create a learning environment that celebrates diversity, builds partnerships and provides support to enhance the success of an inclusive and culturally respectful university campus. The Reach Inspire Succeed Empower (RISE) Network is a scholar’s empowerment network that provides Black and Latino freshman students with skill-based development, support and opportunities to enhance their overall academic career at St. John's University. The goal is to create an environment where successful, high potential students can come together to assist in increasing student retention and graduation rates.
St. Mary’s University
The small campus of 3,625 total students is 69 percent Hispanic and the faculty is 40 percent Hispanic. St. Mary’s has seen significant enrollment gains in undergraduate STEM programs since 2010, especially among Hispanic students. This fall, more than 47 percent of St. Mary’s freshmen chose a major in the School of Science, Engineering and Technology. At the same time, San Antonio has been on a mission to develop industry in these fields. St. Mary’s is advancing its STEM pipeline in order to connect students with growing professional opportunities. By the end of the project, St. Mary’s expects to increase enrollment in STEM programs by at least 6 percent, with at least 50 percent of new students being Hispanic and/or low-income.
Sul Ross State University
Nestled in the small town of Alpine, Texas, 2,137 students call SRS University home. Sixty-five percent of the enrollment is Hispanic, with 38 percent of the faculty also Hispanic. The university has three satellite campuses in Del Rio, Uvalde and Eagle Pass, collectively known as Rio Grande College. SRSU and Rio Grande College are part of the Texas State University System, the largest college system in the state after the University of Texas and Texas A&M systems. Like many schools on this list, the high diversity rate among its students has made SRSU a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).
Tarrant County College District
TCC includes six locations throughout the county and takes part in many Hispanic student initiatives. TCC has taken an important step toward increased student access and success by joining the nationwide movement, Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count. That effort includes completing developmental instruction and advance to credit-bearing courses, enrolling in and successfully completing gateway courses in subjects such as math and English, and earning a degree or certificate. Of the estimated 51,727 total students, 30 percent are Hispanics. TCC is one of the 20 largest higher education institutions in the United States.
Texas Tech University
The Lubbock-based university not only has an impressive number of Latino undergraduate students, at 22 percent; it also has one of the highest numbers of Hispanic faculty among all universities period, at more than 18 percent. The outreach efforts have not gone unnoticed, with Hispanic Outlook listing Texas Tech University on its annual list of the Top 100 Institutions for Hispanics based on degrees awarded. The White House Initiative on Education Excellence also selected it as a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education for academic outreach to Hispanic students. Texas Tech also was the recipient of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award.
Texas Wesleyan University
With a total enrollment of 2,619 students, the Fort Worth university includes 23 percent Hispanics among its student body. Student organizations include Lambda Theta Phi to promote the spirit of brotherhood, to protect the rights of Latino students in the pursuit of education, to promote the rich Latino culture and to maximize leadership potentials to provide guidance to our community. As a small, private, four-year coeducational university, Wesleyan delivers a solid undergraduate curriculum and select graduate programs to a diverse student body. Texas Wesleyan is ranked in the No. 1 tier of regional universities in the West for 2014 by U.S. News & World Report, and has held the ranking for four straight years.
Texas Woman’s University
The university has locations in Dallas, Denton and Houston, and contrary to what the name might imply, it is actually coeducational. The total enrollment hovers at 15,303, with the majority of students at the Denton campus totaling 12,557. An estimated 24 percent Hispanic enrollment comprises the largest minority block, with men making up 12 percent of that number. Seventy-one percent of students receive some sort of financial aid, with 27 percent getting their full financial needs met. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recently awarded Texas Woman’s University a $200,000 grant for its G-Force student-mentorship program, designed to increase enrollment of first-generation college students.
University of Houston
With over 42,000 students, 75 percent of UH alumni live in Texas. The tier one institution boasts a student body from 137 countries, including 29 percent of Hispanic heritage. Just this year, the university gave out 2,404 degrees to Hispanics, which totaled 25 percent that year. The University of Houston also has 75 Hispanic members on its faculty and has the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Among its outreach efforts are student ambassador programs, which are a team of student leaders who promote the university's commitment to diversity and the creation of a global learning community. They help bring individuals and groups of students together to engage with and learn from one another.
University of Illinois – Chicago
As one of the largest universities in the state, UIC includes 29,048 students, with a Hispanic enrollment of 26 percent. Thirteen percent of the faculty is Hispanic, making it one of the most diverse campuses in a large city setting. UIC is among the top five most diverse campuses in the nation and is a national leader among urban, public higher education institutions in providing access to underrepresented students. UIC is focused on eliminating disparities in health, education and economic opportunity. Community engagement is a centerpiece of UIC’s urban mission. Not surprising, it has earned a federal Minority Serving Institution designation.
University of Nevada – Las Vegas
While Las Vegas is known more for nightlife, for the 29,805 enrolled students of UNLV, it is a place of study. The campus has a 25 percent Hispanic student rate, with an additional 11 percent on the faculty. UNLV has been designated a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) by the U.S. Department of Education and is now competing for grants under Title III and Title V of the Higher Education Act. The Office of Diversity Initiatives co-sponsors UNLV’s annual Diversity Research and Mentorship reception. Attendees learn about faculty of color research interests, publications and courses taught, and discuss research and mentor opportunities.
University of North Texas
UNT is the second university on the list located in Denton, Texas, with 20 percent of its total enrollment being Latino. The relatively frugal tuition of $10,519 makes it a good investment, although 58 percent of students getting some form of financial aid. The university was ranked as a top school in the nation by Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine. UNT is one of the nation’s most diverse universities, with 7,800 Hispanic students and ÚNeTe. The interest group represents Latinos on campus, coordinates activities on behalf of Latinos, represents the interests and the voice of Latinos in university committees and task forces, and disseminates information about Latino research and culture.
University of St. Thomas
The Catholic university based in Houston has a 37 percent Hispanic enrollment and 22 percent Hispanics on the faculty. That is more impressive when you consider the school has only 3,312 students. More than 50 percent are Catholic, with an overwhelming 75 percent of incoming freshman identifying as Catholic. The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the University of St. Thomas a five-year, $3.8 million grant for Hispanic and low-income students who are interested in pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and nursing. The priority of the grant is to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students attaining degrees in the STEM fields.
University of the Incarnate Word
UIW joins a number of San Antonio schools on the list with a 53 percent Hispanic student body and a 37 percent Hispanic faculty. With 10,984 total students, the school also was named a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The Graduate Support Center includes 230 programs that invest in key education priorities for Hispanics. The initiative seeks to leverage these Bright Spots to encourage collaboration between stakeholders focused on similar issues in sharing data-driven approaches, promising practices, peer advice and effective partnerships, ultimately resulting in increased support for educational initiatives in the Hispanic community that last from cradle to career.
University of Texas – Arlington
As one of the largest suburbs of Dallas, Arlington is home to a university with 51,000 students. Twenty-three percent of the student body is Hispanic, and the school has received accolades for diversity from numerous academic lists. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) named the university its 2014 Outstanding HACU-Member Institution for its contributions to Hispanic higher education. Hispanic Network Magazine ranked the school among the nation's Best of the Best Schools in 2015. Seventy-three percent of students receive scholarships and the school was recently named a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). The HSI designation makes UT eligible for funding from specific programs and initiatives aimed at promoting academic success for Hispanic students, but it benefits everyone enrolled at the institution.
University of Texas – Austin
With 20 percent Hispanic students, the Longhorns boast a total enrollment of 50,950. As the number of Hispanic Americans in the United States grows, so does the potential for Hispanics to seek leadership roles. Launched in 2009, the initiative measures emerging political and policy trends in the Hispanic community, recognizes Hispanic leadership, develops and hosts relevant information, and seeks to increase recruitment of students from diverse backgrounds to the university. The Hispanic Alumni Network aims to make a difference in the lives of Hispanic students by providing committed alumni volunteers and promoting outreach, mentorship, scholarship and fellowship.
University of Texas – El Paso
Of the estimated 23,397 students at the El Paso-based university, 80 percent are Hispanic, with a faculty that is 60 percent Hispanic. That easily makes it not only one of the most Latino-friendly schools on the list, but also in the country. According to a 2015 Washington Monthly survey, UTEP is among the top 10 national universities, joining the likes of Texas A&M, UCLA, Stanford and Harvard. UTEP recently received a landmark grant by the National Science Foundation — one of the first ever given by the NSF — to enhance U.S. leadership in science and engineering by broadening participation in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 in a historic move that brought together the resources and assets of UT Pan American and UT Brownsville/Texas Southmost College and, for the first time, made it possible for Valley residents to benefit from the Permanent University Fund, a public endowment. UTRGV also is home to the UTRGV School of Medicine and is now the 10th-largest university in the state with more than 28,000 students. It ranks fourth nationally in the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanics nationwide, according to an annual report published by Diverse Issues in Higher Education. The Diverse Issues in Higher Education report ranks the school first in awarding bachelor's degrees in Health Professions and Related Programs, second in bachelor's degrees to Hispanics in English Language and Literature/Letters, and third in bachelor's degrees to Hispanics in Biological and Biomedical Sciences.
University of Wyoming
The Laramie-based university currently has an estimated 13,500 students, 7 percent of whom are Hispanic. The Multicultural Student Leadership Initiative (MSLI) is a leadership-training program for students who support diversity and want to make a difference during their time at UW. MSLI was designed to support U.S. ethnic minority students and all students who want to promote diversity through leadership. MSLI peer mentors are students who have been involved with leadership activities on campus for at least one year. MSLI faculty/staff mentors are from a wide range of campus academic, professional and personal backgrounds. MSLI Triads meet at least every other week to build a positive support network.
Western Illinois University
Located in Macomb, Illinois, total enrollment averages only 11,094. Yet its student body is comprised of 10 percent Hispanic students. It also is an affordable choice, with 73 percent receiving financial aid; 60 percent of them saying their tuition needs were met. Academically, they have a chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the national collegiate Hispanic honor society. In 2010, WIU was the only Illinois public university and the only Midwestern public university to be included among 20 other U.S. public institutions by The Education Trust for successful graduation rates for Hispanic students.
The Whittier, California, school joins the list as one of the smallest universities with only 1,670 students and a 44 percent Hispanic student rate. Among its faculty, Hispanics comprise 28 percent, with a 13-to-1 student to teacher ratio. As a designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), Whittier College is just one case study where Latino students regularly outperform their peers on a national level in regards to matriculation and graduation rates. In 2010, 63 percent of Latino students at Whittier graduated in four years. HSIs represent 9 percent of non-profit colleges and universities in the country, yet enroll 16 percent of all students in postsecondary (non-profit) schools, and serve 54 percent of all Latino students.
The Birmingham, Alabama-based university only has 5,471 total enrolled students, but 6 percent of the total enrollment is Hispanic. The school offers diversity ambassadors who are committed to learning about and sharing the importance of diversity, equality and inclusion. Diversity Ambassadors also serve as a key resource for underrepresented prospective students who desire to learn more about the Samford before, during and after the admission process. The experiences and information shared by ambassadors serve as integral pieces to prospective students’ navigation of the university, and helps them learn more about unique opportunities for underrepresented students on campus. Samford University is Alabama’s top-ranked private university with nationally ranked academic programs rooted in the university’s Christian mission. Located in suburban Birmingham, Alabama, Samford has 5,471 students from 47 states and 29 countries studying in 30 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.