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ASU leads in awarding degrees to minority students

March 25, 2010

Arizona State University is one of the leading universities in the country for awarding degrees to Hispanic and Native American students, according to figures from the National Center for Education Statistics.

ASU ranked fourth in the nation for bachelor’s degrees to Native Americans, at 209, and 10th for bachelor’s degrees to 1,375 Hispanic students in 2007-08. The ranking reflects an intensive effort by the university over the past decade to recruit and support ethnic minority students who may be underrepresented in the student body.

As more of these students succeed, more continue their studies to earn graduate degrees. Among Native American students, ASU ranks sixth in the nation for master’s degrees and 12th for research doctorates. Among Hispanics, ASU comes in at 42nd for master’s degrees and 17th for research doctorates.

A third of new ASU undergraduates were ethnic minority students in Fall 2009, including 37 percent of new freshmen. Minority enrollment at all ASU campuses reached 18,600, more than 27 percent of the student body, a greater proportion than ever before. Ten years ago the proportion was 19 percent.

A broad range of social and academic support and resources are available to these students, including tutorials, skills workshops and mentoring by faculty. All ASU freshmen are offered academic support, though this outreach is especially important for first-generation students.

Among the resources for Native American students is the Native American Achievement Program, a specialized program designed in partnership with three Arizona tribes to increase students’ persistence and graduation. The One Nation Club at the Polytechnic offers cultural activities, guest speakers and community service projects, and the Tempe campus offers seven American Indian student organizations.

Latino students find many student interest groups, including the Hispanic Business Students Association, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Latino Graduate Student Alliance. One particularly successful effort has been the Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program, which brings high school girls to campus with their mothers over four years for specialized workshops and classes.

“Inclusion is fundamental to ASU,” says Elizabeth D. Capaldi, executive vice president and provost of the university. “As the population becomes more diverse, the country needs to educate this diverse population, and ASU is a leader in this endeavor. Our leadership in this area, combined with our focus on excellence, shows that these goals are not mutually exclusive.”