Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tennessee universities roll out welcome mat in struggle to attract Hispanic students

Vandy: 5.7% of undergrads

TSU: 1% of student body

UT-Knoxville: 1.7% of incoming class

update 11/25/07: Colby Sledge points out Austin Peay State University's on-campus Hispanic Cultural Center, "which offers help for Spanish majors and Hispanic students and organizes events like Spanish-language movie nights. " Austin Peay has 413 Hispanic students, which comes to 4.7% of the student body of 8,600.

The Tennessean published this article about the efforts of Tennessee universities to attract Hispanic college students, who are not flocking to the state in large numbers:

Universities across the state are beginning to recruit Hispanics in an attempt to diversify their student bodies. Hispanic college students in Tennessee consistently number fewer than their African-American classmates — and often Asian students, as well — even though Hispanics are the most numerous minority in the nation. ...

Vanderbilt saw its Hispanic undergraduate enrollment rise from 339 students last year to 362 this semester [out of a total of 6400 undergraduates].

Tennessee State University recruiter Jose Vazquez arrived at the school about a year ago partially to attract Hispanics, including adult nontraditional students.

Hispanics make up about 1 percent of students at the historically black university. Nearly twice as many Asian/ Pacific Islander students attend the school. ...

Belmont University officials also have increased recruitment efforts in the Nashville Hispanic community though hosting events with the YMCA's Hispanic Achievers program, as well as an annual Latin street festival on campus. ...

At the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, officials are planning recruitment programs targeting Hispanics, including campus visits geared exclusively to Hispanics, spokeswoman Amy Blakely said.

This year, UT's freshman class included 73 Hispanics, or 1.7 percent of the school's incoming class.
Photo by Paul Chenoweth

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