Aside from purchasing a home, deciding where to attend college is one of the most long-term and costliest investments most individuals will make in their lifetime.
Increasingly competitive job markets also demand the right academic credentials to more aptly begin a career track. Yet for minorities like Latinos, only 15 percent have a bachelor's degree or higher according to recent data by the Pew Research Center. There are numerous circumstances as to why the largest minority block in the United States is also one of the most educationally underserved.
Yet there are also numerous reasons why some academic institutions better serve Hispanic students. They include: the percentage of total Latino enrollment and the percentage of Latino faculty, the percentage of students who apply and receive financial aid, academic resources for minority students to acclimate to academic rigors of college life and outreach efforts by schools to add to their overall diversity.
Institutional information provided by universities, along with independent sources like the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), joined data by U.S. News and World Report and other reporting agencies all served as basis for the research methodology in compiling the top 50 universities for Latinos.
The list of Colleges and Universities we're presenting in the following pages, along with interviews and chats with some academic leaders, are institutions that have excelled in their performance, outreach and academic level in their relation with the Latino student population of the Country.
50 BEST UNIVERSITIES FOR LATINOS
With a petite enrollment of 1,795,13 percent of the student body at Amherst is Hispanic. Located in Amherst, Massachusetts, 58 percent of students receive need-based financial aid, 23 percent receive Pell Grants and 17 percent are the first members of their families to attend college. The average annual financial aid package is more than $50,000. The Office of Admission hosts two weekend Diversity Open Houses to introduce prospective applicants to Amherst's campus, student body, faculty, classes and residence halls. Diversity interns are current Amherst students who work with the Office of Admissions to reach out to prospective students from different cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
With a main campus in Tempe, the public university boasts an undergraduate Hispanic student population of 19 percent. It also includes a 12 percent Hispanic faculty population, along with a comprehensive diversity initiative from the Office of Inclusion and Community Engagement. The Southwest Borderlands Initiative strengthens existing Arizona State University scholarly and instructional resources in the Southwest with an emphasis on the region along the United States-Mexico border. It also enhances institutional recruitment and retention efforts toward building a faculty fully reflective of the Southwest Borderlands' diversity. The other is the Graduate Education Diversity Resources, which includes scholarships, career development, mentoring and other support for graduate students and undergraduates on a path toward graduate school.
Situated in north Texas, Baylor is routinely rated as a top university in the country by numerous publications. Thirty-four percent of the freshman class is minority students, and 93 percent of Baylor students receive some form of financial assistance.
The 142 undergraduate degree programs, 75 master's programs and 42 doctoral programs are assets for Latino students who want both high academic standards and proximity to their families, who live primarily in the Lone Star State. The school has a Hispanic Student Association to foster an enriching experience of the Hispanic culture, heritage and traditions in the Baylor and Waco communities while empowering and supporting students with their personal development, and advocating for a diverse and inclusive environment.
Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Belmont only admits 7,723 students, with an average of 5 percent being Latino. The Study Abroad in Turkey Scholarship for Minority Students is just one of the opportunities to see the world with Belmont. The Turkish Coalition of America, in cooperation with Diversity Abroad, awards grants for undergraduate and graduate students who have been accepted to a study abroad program in Turkey or Cyprus for an academic year, semester or summer. The Institute for International Public Policy Fellowship Program aims to increase the representation of minorities in international affairs and global public policy in the government, private and non-profit sectors. Global policy institutes and subsequent study abroad experience, with a focus on international affairs.
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY--LONG BEACH
The network of California state universities has one of the most comprehensive diversity plans in the nation. Cal State-Long Beach is no exception, with over 37 percent making up their Hispanic student body. The Office of Equity & Diversity aims to promote full consideration of all members of all minorities in recruitment, selection, advancement, promotion and retention. Also, they facilitate, monitor, evaluate and ensure compliance pertaining to equal educational and employment. Hispanic tenured track faculty has increased from 4 percent to 7 percent. Recruiting diverse faculty and staff included race, ethnicity, bilingual or multilingual knowledge, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion and ability, among other cultural identities and experiences.
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY--LOS ANGELES
CSULA may not be as well known as the more famous universities in Los Angeles, but the estimated 27,681 students are impressively diverse, with a 60 percent Hispanic enrollment. The school also includes 27 percent Hispanics on its faculty. Cal State LA has once again earned national recognition for graduating Latino students who go on to earn Ph.D.s in science and engineering fields. Between bachelor's and master's granting institutions in the continental U.S, Cal State LA is No. 1 for producing Latino doctorates in the areas of chemistry, physics, mathematics and statistics, computer sciences, biological sciences, and engineering, according to data compiled by the National Science Foundation.
A total of 4,265 students call CC their academic home. For the 28 percent of Hispanic students, the private, nonprofit institution has specialized in adult learning, with five satellite locations across the country. Cambridge College is a center of ethnic diversity, with over 65 percent of its students being members of a minority group. Students of different ethnic backgrounds flourish at Cambridge due to the inclusive culture that produces a positive educational experience. Tuition is less than the cost of the average four-year college and over 60 percent of students receive financial aid.
CHRISTIAN BROTHERS UNIVERSITY
The Memphis, Tennessee-based university is among the smallest on the list with 1,842 students. Seven percent of them are Hispanic, with 72 percent of all students receiving some form of financial aid. The Latino Student Success Program is a multi-faceted approach to assisting Hispanic students during their time at CBU. The LSS program is made possible by a private grant that will fund the program over the next seven years. In fall of 2014, several Latino students at CBU founded a student-run organization called Hola CBU to meet the unique needs of Latino students in the CBU community. Partnerships with Latino Memphis, a local agency that assists Latinos in the Greater Memphis area, assist students by connecting them with resources, collaborating and advocating for health, education and justice.
CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK--BROOKLYN COLLEGE
At 17,390 students, Brooklyn College boasts 20 percent Hispanic enrollment and a 10 percent Hispanic faculty. The university offers the Gates Millennium Scholarship for minority students. It also offers the HACE Scholarship, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, LULAC National Scholastic Achievement Award, the New Mexico Alliance Scholarship and the Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship, to name a few. The Black and Latino Male Initiative have always been to increase the number of black and Latino males who enroll in and graduate from the college. To achieve that goal, it addresses just about every aspect of the students'...