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Colleges serving Hispanics on rise

PCC may face grant squeeze

  • Updated

The competition soon will be tougher for federal funds to help Hispanic college students as more colleges are designated as serving Hispanics.

There are 265 colleges that have the federal designation of "Hispanic Serving Institution." At least 25 percent of their students are Hispanic and the colleges are eligible for Title V federal grants to help improve academic outcomes for Hispanic and low-income students.

An additional 67 colleges are very close to receiving the designation - with 20 percent to 24 percent Hispanic enrollment, according to a new study by Excelencia in Education.

The nonprofit research group identified an additional 109 colleges with Hispanic enrollment between 15 percent and 19 percent.

More Hispanic-serving colleges will mean more colleges "better reflect the demographic makeup of their surrounding communities," Pima Community College Chancellor Roy Flores said by e-mail.

PCC has had the designation since 1999, and about 31 percent of the student body is Hispanic.

But more competition for the grants will help, not hurt, Flores said, because it will spur PCC to some up with better programs to help Hispanic students.

Since 2006, PCC students have benefited from about $8.4 million in Title V grants.

PCC received:

• About $2.5 million for a new avionics training program, new programs to train preschool teachers, and half of the funds needed to establish an endowment for the south-side Desert Vista campus.

• About $2.9 million for technology upgrades and training for faculty and academic advisers.

• About $3 million to buy technology, including mannequins that simulate patients, for the nursing and radiology programs.

The Excelencia study suggests those schools that are close to the designation should begin focusing on Hispanic-student recruitment and retention now.

The University of Arizona has had a goal of gaining the designation since 2003, when Hispanic enrollment was 14 percent. Today, about 17 percent of students are Hispanic. UA South already has the designation.

Arizona list

Designated Hispanic-serving institutions in Arizona (25 percent or greater Hispanic enrollment)

Arizona Western College (Yuma), Central Arizona College (Coolidge), Cochise College (Douglas), Estrella Mountain Community College (Avondale), GateWay Community College (Phoenix), Northern Arizona University's Yuma branch campus, Phoenix College, Pima Community College, South Mountain Community College (Phoenix), University of Arizona South

Emerging Hispanic-serving institutions in Arizona

University of Arizona: nearly 16 percent Hispanic enrollment, Arizona State University at the West Campus (Glendale): nearly 19 percent, Eastern Arizona College (Thatcher): nearly 17 percent, Glendale Community College: about 22 percent, Mesa Community College: nearly 16 percent, Mohave Community College (Kingman): about 15 percent

Note: Enrollment percentages based on fall 2006 enrollment data

Source: Excelencia in Education

DID YOU KNOW

About 13 percent of Hispanics age 25 and older have earned a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 30 percent of non-Hispanic whites, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at 807-8012 or bpallack@azstarnet.com


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