The University of Texas ranks among the 10 U.S. universities that grant the most degrees to Latino graduates, a new report has found.
The study, from education nonprofit Excelencia in Education, ranks UT high in terms of raw numbers of Latino graduates at all degree levels. UT is #10 for bachelor’s degrees, #8 for professional degrees, and #5 for doctoral degrees.
Latino enrollment at UT has been on the rise for decades. In 1975, just 4 percent of UT students were Latino; last year, 17.6 percent were. Hispanic* enrollment has jumped 47 percent since 2000, when the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board initiated its Closing the Gaps plan. One of its explicit goals was to increase the number of Hispanics enrolling and earning college degrees.
Kedra Ishop, UT’s vice provost and director of admissions, attributes the rising numbers to a campus-wide effort to help Latino students succeed. “The University is committed to increasing diversity in many ways—through recruitment, admissions, student support, and many other factors,” Ishop says. “For example, our regional admissions centers all over the state give students resources right in their hometowns.” A ninth regional admissions center will open soon in Laredo, Ishop says.
The demographics of UT’s student body are still a long way from reflecting those of Texas, which is 38 percent Latino. Ishop says that while demographic matching is not the University’s goal, increasing all kinds of diversity—ethnic, geographic, economic, and more—is a strong institutional priority. “We all believe there is more progress to be made, but we’ve also made quite a bit of progress so far,” Ishop says.
*Editor’s Note: For the purposes of this article, we are using the words Latino and Hispanic interchangeably. The study uses Latino, and we are abiding that when reporting on their findings. The Closing the Gaps plan uses Hispanic, and so we use that phrase when discussing its numbers.