North Texas Daily

Report shows rise in Hispanic students

Report shows rise in Hispanic students

Report shows rise in Hispanic students
October 08
08:01 2013

Mollie Jamison / Staff Writer

Hispanic enrollment at UNT has increased by 11.4 percent, according to an annual report from the UNT Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.

“The increase in Hispanic students at UNT is a function of three things,” political science professor Valerie Martinez-Ebers said. “A higher number of Hispanics are going to college than ever before, the number of Hispanics is increasing throughout the U.S., most of whom are U.S. born, and UNT is beginning to be known as a Hispanic student-friendly campus.”

In fall 2011, there were 5,520 Hispanic students attending UNT, making up almost 15.5 percent of the total student body. In fall 2012 that number increased to 6,093, making up 17 percent of the total student body.

Martinez-Ebers, who also teaches a course on Latino politics, said the increase in Hispanic undergraduate student enrollment is a direct result of the significant increase in the Hispanic population across the DFW metroplex and the state.

“Most of our undergraduate students come from the state of Texas,” Martinez-Ebers said. “Hispanic graduate student enrollment has increased too, but not nearly as much as at the undergraduate level. However, UNT graduate students are less likely to come from DFW and/or Texas.”

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, in 2010 there were 9.46 million Hispanics in Texas, making up 38 percent of Texas’ 25.1 million people. In 2000, Hispanics made up 32 percent of the Texas population.

Martinez-Ebers said UNT successfully absorbing the increase of Hispanic students would require change.

“There will need to be an increase in the number of Hispanic staff and faculty, and more funding and attention devoted to programing and support services for the retention of Hispanic students,” Martinez-Ebers said.

Olmar Vanegas, national student representative for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, said that by 2017 Hispanics would be the largest minority ethnic group in the nation.

“Priorities are starting to change for Latino families and education is on the top of that list,” said Vanegas, an integrated studies senior.

Vanegas said he hasn’t seen many Hispanics in his classes but has seen many of them in his Spanish classes.

“I think one thing that we are seeing is that Latinos are becoming more Americanized,” Vanegas said. “Most of them here learning are losing their culture. English becomes their first language instead of Spanish. I am guilty of this. I’m proud of my roots, however I’m not really in touch with my roots. I’m not first or second generation.”

Luis Torres, biology junior and first-generation Hispanic, said Hispanic enrollment is important at UNT because it creates diversity.

“The term ‘Hispanic’ is a very diverse term within itself, and bringing that diversity to the classroom can better prepare us for the future,” Torres said. “The world is a very diverse place and where better to learn and experience this diversity than in a classroom?”

National Hispanic Heritage month is observed from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

Graphic by Nicole Arnold / Visuals Editor

The UNT Hispanic Student Association on the square in Denton during the Once Upon a Homecoming event in 2012. The HSA supports unity and integration of Hispanic students. Feature photo courtesy of UNT Hispanic Association Facebook page.

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