Texas Tech is continuing its efforts to diversify its student body and reach its goal to become a Hispanic-Serving Institution.
Hispanic student enrollment at Texas Tech University reached a new high at 23 percent this semester, but the Hispanic population on campus hasn't always been so large – even in a city with a 36 percent Hispanic population.
In 1979, only 2.5 percent of Texas Tech students were Hispanic. That population continually increased each year, eventually reaching 11 percent in 2005. The past decade has led to the Hispanic enrollment rate doubling, growing to 23 percent in 2015.
Currently, 6,730 Hispanic undergraduate students are enrolled at Texas Tech.
Texas Tech hopes to reach its goal of becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institution by growing its Hispanic enrollment to 25 percent, which can lead to more funding and opportunities to recruit and retain a diverse body of students.
Juan Muñoz, vice president of Institutional Diversity, said Texas Tech is proud of its efforts to attract highly accomplished students, over 23 percent of which are Hispanic undergraduates.
“As a public university, Texas Tech is committed to educating the citizenry of the state, and that includes its growing Hispanic population,” Muñoz said. “But if one looks at the continued record enrollment at the university, it is clear that Texas Tech is becoming the school of first choice for exceptional students of all backgrounds.”
Ethan Logan, executive director for Undergraduate Admissions, said the educational experience is enhanced through exposure to diversity.
“Diversity of thought and ideas, the exposure to different people with different backgrounds and the philosophies and cultures of diverse experiences all combine to enrich the educational experience,” Logan said. “As Texas Tech develops into a Hispanic-Serving Institution, the diversity of the students, faculty and staff all reflect this continuing diversity of culture and ideas. That is what promotes the comprehensiveness of experiences Texas Tech has to offer.”
Recruitment efforts by the Lubbock school systems as well as Texas Tech itself have proven to be helpful in catching the eyes of prospective Hispanic students across both the city and the state.
Logan said Texas Tech intentionally recruits and advises students from underrepresented high schools and with low socio-economic profiles.
“It's our intention to be as comprehensive in our outreach and recruitment across all communities in Texas,” Logan said.
Daniel Castro, Vice president and investment adviser of the Lubbock-Cooper Independent School District board of trustees and Texas Tech alum, said the efforts to recruit high academic achievers from across the state to Texas Tech is helpful in influencing Hispanic students to consider attending the university as well.
“When those kids leave Texas Tech and talk about their experiences, it makes it easier to recruit Hispanics to Texas Tech as opposed to other schools in the southern part of the state,” Castro said.
Including Hispanic cultural groups such as the Ballet Folklórico and Mariachi bands in Texas Tech celebrations also helps recruit Hispanic students, Castro said.
“Groups like that being included in those kind of celebrations is helping,” Castro said. “These are folks who are representatives of our community, and it is definitely helping.”
Ever since the first Mexican-American student from Lubbock graduated from Texas Tech, efforts have been made to encourage Hispanic Lubbock natives to continue their education at Texas Tech.
Anita Carmona Harrison became the first Mexican-American student from Lubbock to graduate from Texas Tech in 1967. She was the first Chicana student to go through the entire Lubbock and Texas Tech school systems.
A generation before Harrison attended Texas Tech, Maria Alejandrina Hevia became the earliest cited female Hispanic student of the university. Hevia was born in Argentina and came to Texas Tech from Brazil in 1935 to study languages and business administration. A 1935 issue of the Toreador said Hevia planned to return to South America to work as an interpreter after leaving Lubbock.
Today, Texas Tech's Undergraduate Admissions actively works to recruit a diverse student body. Jamie Hansard, director of recruitment and marketing for Undergraduate Admissions, said she is proud of the efforts of the recruitment team over the last three years to increase the diversity of Texas Tech's incoming freshmen and transfer students.
“Undergraduate Admissions is excited to participate in the university's goal to become a Hispanic-Serving Institution,” Hansard said. “Although our recruitment efforts are vast, we're proud of our efforts to provide access and opportunity to students.”
Undergraduate Admissions offers a variety of inclusive services such as bilingual staff in all regional recruitment centers, Spanish-language campus tours upon request and the development of a Spanish-language website to assist parents with the admissions process.
Logan said Texas Tech's goals to grow its Hispanic population are to better reflect the nature and evolution of the population of the state of Texas.
“As Texas grows in the Hispanic population, so too does our institution's growth reflecting this population across the state and the country,” Logan said.
Texas Tech participates in National Hispanic Institute programming as well as community engagement programs in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and South Texas.
“These are just a few of the many things we're doing,” Hansard said. “We want to recruit a diverse class to Texas Tech University. ”