Published May 30, 2014
By Ty Beaver, Tri-City Herald
A national education association has identified Columbia
Basin College as awarding the most associate degrees to Hispanics in the
The Pasco college also is among the top in the state for enrolling the most Hispanic students.
226 Hispanic students earning their associate degrees during the
2011-12 academic year at CBC make up about 21 percent of that year's
graduates, according to Excelencia in Education. Full data from the
2012-13 academic year isn't yet available, education officials said.
recognition is part of a national report recently released by the
organization and intended to demonstrate the importance of further
engaging Hispanics in higher education.
"America's success is
intertwined with the educational success of Latinos, and that takes
leadership not only in Washington, (D.C.), but in statehouses and
communities all across the country," said U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa,
D-Texas, in a release.
CBC officials said there is still more to
be done to better serve the Hispanic community in the Mid-Columbia, but
the college has made solid strides in recent years.
great progress," said Martín Valadez, CEO of the CBC Foundation and the
college's former vice president of diversity.
A larger percentage
of 2011-12 graduates were Hispanic at Yakima Valley Community College
and Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake but the total number of
Hispanic graduates at each individual school was less than CBC's.
college ranked fourth in the state with the most Hispanic
undergraduates that academic year with 1,613 students, or 25 percent of
total enrollment, of all two-year and four-year institutions. The
Washington State University system, University of Washington's Seattle
campus and YVCC were the top three.
CBC has been recognized as a
Hispanic-serving institution, or HSI, since 2012. Such colleges and
universities must have at least 25 percent of their students be
Hispanic. They then are qualified to apply for hundreds of thousands of
dollars in grant funding.
The college was an HSI five years
before but lost its status when federal officials ruled only Hispanic
students taking courses toward a college degree could be counted.
weren't reaching out to everyone we needed to," Valadez said. "But it's
also outreach to parents, though. They can influence their kids."
college developed programs such as Upward Bound and those targeted at
migrants to highlight the value and accessibility of higher education,
There have been information campaigns via Spanish
radio and attempts to better retain students by getting them help in
math and providing academic counseling. And more financial aid is being
made available. CBC Hispanic enrollment likely is closer to 28 percent
to 30 percent today, he said.
About 18 percent of WSU Tri-Cities
students were Hispanic in 2012. About 1,400 students were enrolled that
academic year. That percentage jumped to 23.5 percent in 2013.
University officials said Hispanic enrollment has increased 430 percent
in the past 10 years.
The university has pursued becoming an HSI,
with former chancellor Vicky Carwein stating she wanted to achieve the
designation by 2015. University officials said achieving the status is
still a goal.
"Due to extensive efforts by our campus to recruit
and retain Hispanic students, in fall 2013 we met the HSI-required
enrollment level of Hispanic students," said Chancellor H. Keith
Moo-Young in a statement.
"However, as recommended by the HSI
organization, we are carefully monitoring this number over a few
semesters to make sure it is stable, while continuing our recruitment
and retention efforts in this area."
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