The Office of Admissions at CSU recently released information describing an 18 percent increase in Latino enrollment over the 2009-2010 school year, marking the largest growth in the population on campus in the universityâ€™s history.
CSUâ€™s 2010-2011 institutional research fact book tallied 1,595 self-identified Hispanic students at the university in the fall of 2009. The next year saw 1,881. Previous years were marked by increases rarely exceeding 100 individuals.
â€œThere will be even bigger years,â€ said Jim Rawlins, CSUâ€™s executive director of admissions. â€œWeâ€™re not really trying to do it with Latino students exclusively, but certainly there are more Latino students to recruit in this state.â€
The news comes on the heels of a report published recently by the Pew Hispanic Center and based on census data. Its figures show that college enrollment among young Latinos ages 18 to 24 increased by 24 percent, or 349,000, nationwide.
Hispanics are now the largest minority group among young college students.
Reasons for the surge across the nation include that Hispanic youth are more college-eligible than ever before, with the Latino high school completion rate reaching its highest level on record at nearly 73 percent in October 2010.
Rawlins said the university is taking advantage of these numbers and reaching out to diverse high schools.
â€œWeâ€™ve grown by 150 percent in the number of incoming freshmen from Denver public schools from fall 2009 until now,â€ Rawlins said, explaining that CSU recruiters are presenting to high schools around the state at an increasing rate. â€œWeâ€™re working harder than ever to reach out.â€
Mabely Garza, a CSU senior communications major and member of Latina sorority Pi Lambda Chi, agreed with the tactics the university uses to recruit from diverse communities.
â€œWhen you go to talk to them, they donâ€™t have to initiate the conversation,â€ Garza said. â€œThey are then more comfortable asking questions, which makes them see that it actually is possible to go to college.â€
Garza didnâ€™t think that over the last couple of years, the numbers of Latinos on campus have been high.
â€œBut they are increasing,â€ she said.
Four-year universities saw increases alongside other institutions of higher education in the past year.
â€œMuch of this growth in college enrollment among young Hispanics has been at community colleges,â€ read the Pew Hispanic Center report. â€œOf all young Hispanics who were attending college last October, some 46 percent were at a two-year college and 54 percent were at a four-year college.â€
Metro State University reported that its Latino student population increased 20 percent in the last year.
While increasing Hispanic college enrollment trends are increasing dramatically at CSU and in Colorado, they are still below the national average by six percent. The fact that other states have more of a Latino population could be whatâ€™s driving the below-average statistic, said Chad Marturano, director of legislative affairs for Coloradoâ€™s Department of Higher Education.
â€œBut Colorado also has one of the largest ethnic achievement gaps in the nation,â€ Marturano said, explaining that over the past few years, â€œThe state is looking at ways to better serve those that we have failed in the past.â€
Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.