Hispanics have edged out other minority groups to become the most represented minority on university campuses nationwide.
Using data from the 2010 Census a Pew Research Center report found that the number of Hispanics enrolled in colleges across the country outpaced blacks for the first time, growing by 24 percent from 2009 to 2010.
While the population of 18-to-24-year-old Hispanics rose by only 7 percent over the same time period, the portion of young Hispanics who graduated high school reached 73 percent – increasing the population of Hispanics eligible to attend college.
Hispanic enrollment at GW likewise jumped 6.7 percent from 2009 to 2010, data from the Office of Institutional Research shows.
Richard Fry, the senior research associate at the Pew Research Center, said this shift in population makeup represents a gradual trend and does not expect dramatic change in student diversity any time soon.
“Demographic change for the nation as a whole tends to evolve slowly, not in fits and starts,” Fry said.
Fry also said the jump in Hispanic representation mostly occurred in two-year colleges or community colleges, rather than four-year institutions. Hispanics tend to enroll in community colleges more often than any other major racial or ethnic group.
As the Hispanic population grows, campus administrators, faculty and resources may devote more attention to “the success of Hispanic students,” Fry said.
After creating a Council on Diversity and Inclusion in the spring of 2010, the University launched five initiatives this fall to promote diversity among students and faculty, including implementing a monitoring framework for diversity and inclusion, promoting diverse faculty, publicizing inclusion efforts, fostering partnerships with more diverse vendors and developing resources and training for employees.
Miguel Alvarez, president of the Organization of Latino American Students, said he appreciates GW’s efforts to attract more Latino students by “developing and incorporating different elements into their admissions techniques,” and retaining students through organizations like the Multicultural Student Services Center.
“This increase in enrollment makes me proud because it is my generation of Latinos, many of whose parents are foreign to this nation, yet have dedicated their lives to working tirelessly for the betterment of their families, which have decided to take a wise and difficult choice,” Alvarez said.
University spokesperson Michelle Sherrard said demographic data for this year’s entering class will not be available until October.