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Driving Growth

By Roy Ivey
Communications & Marketing

Hispanic students will play a key role in the future of Angelo State University.

For the fall semester of 2011, official statistics generated by the ASU Office of Institutional Research and Accountability showed 1,810 students categorized as Hispanic/Latino, which was 25.6 percent of the ASU student population. That number is up significantly from 19 percent in 2000, and is expected to increase to 34 percent by ASU’s 2028 centennial year, a trend that mirrors San Angelo and the surrounding communities.

“The city actually lost population among non-Hispanics,” said Dr. Ken Stewart, director of ASU Community Development Initiatives, whose office analyzed the trends. “But, the growth of Hispanics was enough to give San Angelo a moderate increase, a little less than 5 percent in the overall city population. Many of the counties in West Texas are in the same boat.”

Graduating more Hispanic students will be beneficial to the entire state because it is not just ASU or West Texas that is seeing the dramatic increase in Hispanic population growth.

The benefit of ASU reaching 25 percent Hispanic enrollment translates into new funding opportunities for the university. In 2010 when the university first hit that milestone, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) designated ASU a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). Subsequently, ASU received the first $629,968 installment of a five-year grant of more than $3 million. That was followed in October by another multi-million-dollar DOE grant to enhance ASU’s science, technology, engineering and math programs.

“HSI money is not strictly for Latinos,” Stewart said. “The implication is that other ethnic groups benefit from all the things tied to the HSI program. The Latino population is good for all people at the university.”

Many of the programs receiving initial grant funding are designed to aid first-generation students, including the tutoring labs and First-Year Experience program, and to augment the work of the Multicultural Center. These programs are open to all students and can boost their college and retention success even further. The benefits, though, can be especially beneficial to Hispanics.

“Those programs are all going to tell an important story of how well we do with our Latino students,” Stewart said. “When we are talking about Hispanic students, we are talking about a larger group of first-generation students proportionally, which means they have some risk factors that the university is contemplating, like keeping them in school, making them successful and graduating them.”

Graduating more Hispanic students will be beneficial to the entire state because it is not just ASU or West Texas that is seeing the dramatic increase in Hispanic population growth.

“When you go to the I-35 corridor,” Stewart said, “there are other ethnic groups with growth, but the Hispanic number is explosive all over the state.”

The most recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics for 2010 show the Texas Hispanic population was 9.5 million, or 37.6 percent of the state’s 26 million residents. That was up from 32 percent of the state’s 20.8 million people in 2000. Overall, Hispanic growth accounted for 65 percent of Texas’ population increase over the last decade.

The Census Bureau projects the Hispanic population in Texas will reach 18 million in 2028. At the same time, the state’s white population is projected at 12 million, while black, Native American, Asian and other groups will total about 6 million. Thus, the “minority majority” population trend, where whites no longer make up a numerical majority, will continue in Texas as it has since 2004.

While that has not happened in the San Angelo metropolitan area yet, it is projected for 2026, and the Hispanic population in San Angelo is expected to reach 45 percent by 2028.

As goes its state, region and city, so goes ASU.

Summer 2012 Bonus: Hispanic Experience

  • Success by Degree Martha Perez Cox believes she should never be considered a role model, but her work ethic, her personable nature and her sense of humor counter that personal belief.
  • Living Her Life For small-town girl Jolene Varela, a case of love at first sight brought her to San Angelo, where she has stayed ever since graduating from high school.
  • Borderline Student When John Eusebio Klingemann speaks to young students, he stresses that with persistence and hard work they can overcome any obstacle. After all, he did.
  • Harvest of Acclaim For Arnoldo De León, the military lifted him out of poverty and the history profession elevated him from obscurity.

Summer 2012 Bonus: Latino Influence

  • A Generation of Possibilities Like many students who are the first in their families to attend college, Teresa Rivera entered Angelo State University not knowing what would be expected of her in the classroom.
  • All in the Family Recruiting Hispanic students to Angelo State often means reaching out to their entire families.
  • Driving Growth Hispanic students will play a key role in the future of Angelo State University.
  • The Business of Trade Sometimes business owners need a little nudge to step outside of their comfort zone and try a new venture.

Summer 2012 Bonus: Distinguished Speakers

  • Fueling the Future With the world oil market as volatile as the fuel it deals in, Middle East Institute Scholar Molly Williamson advocates using all possible sources of energy to minimize the impact that conflict and stress over oil have on the U.S. economy.
  • Passion for Storytelling Storytelling plays an important role in the Laguna Pueblo Native American tribe’s culture, a culture that author Leslie Marmon Silko honors through her writing.