The University of North Texas has again been recognized
by the magazine Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education as
a publisher's pick. It's an annual list recognizing colleges and
universities where, in the magazine's opinion, Hispanic students
have shown they can thrive.
UNT has several programs to actively recruit and a commitment
to retain and graduate Hispanic students.
Since 2004, 18 UNT students or recent graduates have received
awards of up to $3,000 per academic year from the national Hispanic
Scholarship Fund. Recent graduates are included because
they applied for the scholarships when they were still UNT students.
The fund, founded in 1975, is considered the premier national scholarship
agency for sponsors of scholarships for Hispanic students.
As part of community outreach efforts across the state of Texas,
UNT's Office of Admissions has taken part in more
than 600 recruitment programs and six national Hispanic college
fairs in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio
areas. Randall Nunn, UNT associate director of
admissions, says his office also has participated in "Las Llaves
del Exito," or "The Keys to Success," for families. The program
is sponsored by the Dallas Independent School District, Dallas
County Community College District and area universities.
Nunn adds, "UNT holds an event every fall called Academic
Kickoff where high school students come to UNT to see
what we have to offer. Plus, we have conducted numerous workshops
for both students and parents at local high schools with a large
Hispanic enrollment to help with questions on how to apply for
admission and financial aid."
The Center for Outreach and Community Involvement sponsors
UNT's Academic Kickoff. Patrick Vasquez, director
of the center, says, "The program targets 300 Hispanic students
from area schools and hosts them for a full day program at UNT,
including a football game."
Vasquez says the center is also an active partner in Denton's Partnership
for Hispanic Success, an on-going initiative to provide
college enrollment, health and civic engagement information to
parents and families of Hispanic students in Denton ISD.
In addition, the center administers UNT's Multicultural
"The program began 12 years ago, and is available to full-time
freshman, transfer, continuing and graduate UNT students who meet
certain academic requirements and agree to actively participate
in a variety of multicultural activities, " Vasquez says.
The deadline for the 2008-2009 academic year is March 15.
Vasquez adds, "UNT's Go Center initiative at
six area high schools has as its focus the goal of creating a college-going
culture. The centers are a place in a high school where students
can talk to their college-going peers about that experience, and
the majority of students we engage are Hispanic."
Last summer, UNT hosted several summer bridge programs for recent
high school graduates to help them meet statewide college readiness
standards and to equip them to compete successfully in higher education.
Increasing and retaining Hispanic enrollment is a major part of
the "Closing the Gaps" initiative of the Texas
Higher Education Coordinating Board. The initiative aims to enroll
630,000 new higher education students across Texas by 2015.
Jose Lopez-Isa, publisher of Hispanic Outlook
in Higher Education magazine, points out in the last decade
national Hispanic enrollment at four-year universities has increased
73 percent. However, the percentage of Hispanic high school graduates
ages 18-24 enrolling in college increased from 35 to 37 percent.
UNT News Service Press Release
Rafael McDonnell may be reached at RMcDonnell@unt.edu.