by Hannah Haney
Sam Houston State University has been named one of the top ten performing institutions in the country for Latino students out of 613 institutions surveyed by the Education Trust.
This report looks at graduation rates for Latino students and the completion or graduation rate gap between Latino and white students at four-year colleges and universities across the country. The analysis focuses on 613 public and nonprofit private nonspecialized institutions. These institutions enroll nearly 85 percent of all first-time, full-time Latino students enrolled at four-year campuses. In the process, they found ten institutions that have significantly higher-than-average graduation rates for Latino students with SHSU reporting no major completion rate gap between Latino and white students.
“There are many contributing factors to the success of Latino students at Sam. First and foremost, our Latino students bring great talent and a tremendous work ethic. This success stands on their shoulders. They have chosen SHSU as their university and it is a privilege to work with them. In addition, they work alongside some dedicated and caring faculty, who are genuinely committed to their students’ success both in and beyond the classroom,” Professor of Mathematics Rebecca Garcia said.
Ed. Trust reports that the policies, practices, leadership and culture at each institution play a critical role in promoting student success. Their findings suggest that the leading universities have improved student success by consistently reviewing and using their own data to launch campus-wide initiatives that focus the entire college community on student success and remove obstacles that impede large numbers of low-income students and students of color from graduating college.
Individual ways SHSU has contributed to student success have been through the launch of programs such as, Establishing Leadership In and Through Education (ELITE), the McNair Scholars Program, Bridge to ASPIRE, and League of United Latin American Citizens Collegiate Council. One particular program, ELITE, aims to promote the academic and civic engagement of minority men through various resources that specifically focus on academic, professional and personal development, as well as leadership development and service engagement.
“ELITE has been on campus since 2010 and we can compare graduation rates of ELITE students to the rest of the student body. Long story short: ELITE students are twice as likely to graduate in five years than non-ELITE students,” Brian Loft, Director of the SHSU STEM Center said.
Despite the progress, there is still great work to be done.
“Over 90 percent of our student body comes from Texas, where nearly 40 percent of the population is Latino. Though there has been growth among the Latino undergraduates at SHSU and growth in their success, the numbers here are nowhere near where they should be and what they could be. This report says we are doing many things right, but our numbers say we must continue to grow,” Garcia said.