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Tech Finds Success Building Hispanic Enrollment

SOCORRO, N.M. March 2, 2012 – For the third consecutive year, New Mexico Tech has achieved the federal status as an Hispanic-Serving Institution, thus qualifying the university for a host of educational funding opportunities to help minorities reach their dream.

In the fall 2011 semester, Tech had 388 Hispanic undergraduate students – the largest number ever. That represents 26.7 percent of the undergraduate student body, which is the largest percentage in school history.

“About 10 years ago, we set a goal to reach the 25 percent threshold,” Tech President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez said. “As a public institution, we do not have unreasonably high enrollment standards, but overall our admission standards are strong. We enroll students regardless of ethnicity. However, we also felt the need to be more accessible to underserved portions of New Mexico’s population, which includes Hispanics, Native Americans, African Americans and low-income students.”

New Mexico Tech recruiters over the past decade have focused efforts on geographical regions that are predominantly Hispanic in New Mexico and all across the Southwest, as well as Texas. Those efforts have paid off.

When Lopez first came to Tech in the late 1980s, the university student population was less than 10 percent Hispanic. By 1997, Hispanics represented 18 percent of undergraduate students, but that percentage only inched higher over the next eight years to 20.7 percent in 2005. Tech first reached the 25 percent mark in the fall 2008 semester and has been at greater than 26 percent ever since.

Since achieving Hispanic-Serving Institution status, New Mexico Tech has garnered two federal Title V grants and one federal Title III grant, totaling more than $10 million over seven years. Those grants have allowed Tech to invest in new technology, faculty training, renovations and, perhaps most importantly, student support programs that help all students.

“Through these grants, we have bolstered introductory courses, provided mentoring and tutoring and added teaching and learning technologies in recent years,” V.P. of Academic Affairs Dr. Peter Gerity said. “We have also instituted innovative programs that help new students learn habits of success at Tech. Earning Hispanic-Serving Institution status has created new opportunities for all students at the university.”

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech