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ASU cited for top institutions among Latinos

February 26, 2009

Arizona State University was cited several times among the top 25 institutions in the United States in “The Condition of Latinos in Education: Fact Book 2008” by Excelencia in Education.

ASU was ranked number 24 among the top 25 colleges and universities enrolling Latinos during the 2006-07 academic year. The university also came in at number 24 for the top 25 institutions awarding bachelor’s degrees to Latinos.

In engineering, ASU was ranked 17th for the top 25 institutions awarding engineering bachelor’s degrees to Latinos.   

Excelencia in Education regularly benchmarks strategies used in high-performing Hispanic serving institutions.


“ASU is pleased that efforts to serve the state of Arizona and our rapidly changing demographics are reflected in both our new student enrollment and graduation statistics,” says James Rund, University Student Initiatives senior vice president.

ASU is among universities with the highest numbers of National Hispanic Scholars in the country. In 2008, there were 324 National Hispanic Scholars enrolled at ASU, says Anita Verdugo Tarango, University Student Initiatives director.

“As the Hispanic population continues to grow in the nation and the state, ASU is working to serve the diversified population,” Verdugo Tarango says.

ASU is also home to a chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers that was recognized by the society’s national leadership with both the Regional Outstanding Chapter Award and the National Chapter of the Year Award for 2008. The organization at ASU fosters a sense of community among Hispanic engineering students, seeks to increase the number of Hispanic university graduates and promote role models.

Michael Garcia is a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and a senior at ASU majoring in aerospace engineering. He decided to attend ASU over other schools after receiving a scholarship and participating in math and science honors programs at the university while he was in high school. Garcia recounts being recognized by one of his professors among his most valuable experiences at ASU.

“Henry Sodano noticed my research talent and offered me the opportunity to be a research assistant as an undergraduate, which has been a tremendous experience,” Garcia says. 

Garcia also mentors freshmen engineering students to help them stay focused on their studies.

 “I’m able to relate with the students on a personal level and for those that are Latino, I can relate to them on that level as well,” Garcia says.

The number of Hispanics in Arizona will continue to increase over the next several decades, given the relative youth of Arizona’s Hispanic population.  Currently, more than one-half million of the more than 1.8 million of Arizona’s Hispanic population is 15 years old or younger. Forty-two percent of the 15 and younger age category in Arizona are Hispanic, according to “Datos 2008,” published by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Excelencia in Education aims to accelerate higher education success for Latino students by providing data-driven analysis of the educational status of Latino students, and by promoting education policies and institutional practices that support their academic achievement, according to the Fact Book.

According to the Fact Book:

• Hispanics are the second largest racial/ethnic group in the United States. In 2006, Hispanics represented 15 percent of the U.S. resident population. This representation has more than doubled since 1980, when Hispanics represented 7 percent of the U.S. population.

• Hispanic representation in K-12 education is growing. In 2006, Hispanic students represented 20 percent of public school enrollment.

• Latino student representation is largest in the West and South. In 2006, Hispanic students represented 37 percent of K-12 student enrollment in the West and almost 20 percent of K-12 enrollment in the South. Latinos also represented 15 percent of K-12 enrollment in the Northeast and 8 percent in the Midwest.

• In 2006, Hispanic students represented 12 percent of undergraduate students.