March 23, 2010
By KATHERINE LEAL UNMUTH
The Dallas Morning News
College graduation rates for Hispanics continue to lag those of whites at Texas public and private universities – even as colleges are pushing to increase Hispanic enrollment, a new study has found.
The American Enterprise Institute recently released a report, "Rising to the Challenge," that charted the performance of universities across the country.
The nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to research on issues such as economics and social welfare, used data from six-year graduation rates from the National Center for Education Statistics.
Nationally, from 2005-07, the graduation rate for Hispanics was 51 percent, compared with 59 percent for whites. Texas universities had a Hispanic graduation rate of 40 percent. Whites were at 45 percent. . .
A gap persists between Hispanic and white students regardless of whether the university had highly competitive or less selective admissions. However, overall graduation rates were higher at the selective universities. . .
The study also said successful universities tended to track their data carefully and create targeted programs. Those programs included summer academic institutes, multicultural advisers and programs for Hispanic students, and better counseling services.
For example, Southern Methodist University graduated 71 percent of Hispanic students and 73 percent of white students. In comparison, the University of Texas had a wider gap. UT graduated 69 percent of Hispanic students and 77 percent of whites.
SMU assistant provost Anthony Tillman said that a specific multicultural coordinator focused on programs for Hispanic students has helped, in addition to mentoring and scholarships provided by a Hispanic alumni association.
"We get them connected to the institution and oriented," he said. "There's a strong bridge of support."
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