Even as U.S. Hispanics fight to gain access to academia, universities and colleges are being challenged to reach out to the Hispanic community to achieve their diversity goals. Some of these schools have higher goals than others. To some, achieving diversity is about more than talk, it is about taking action. Some are aggressive, creative, and highly successful in their outreach to Hispanics. Each year, we celebrate these schools and their mission in our September issue. These are among the most progressive and laudable institutions of higher learning in the world.
The Tomás Rivera Policy Institute recently pointed out that professional programs in universities and colleges, such as the ones we have listed in the following pages, "prepare elite leaderships at both the state and nationals levels across a multitude of sectors." The Center's reported added, "If we are to eradicate racial, economic and social disparities in America, it is imperative to have effective participation in our universities."
But, which schools offer the most to Hispanics? Which ones are at the forefront of recruiting, retaining, and offering quality higher education?
To answer these questions, HispanTelligence, the research arm of Hispanic Business Inc., annually assess the nation's top universities for Hispanics in the fields of medicine, engineering, business, and law. From these institutions will come the country's future entrepreneurs, scientists, doctors, and political leaders.
The best schools for Hispanics -- the ones that nourish young minds and transform them into probing thinkers, innovative entrepreneurs, and successful leaders -- are often in regions where the Hispanic population has a powerful presence.
Of the 40 schools on our four Top 10 lists, 31 are in Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, New York, and Texas. One quarter of all schools on the lists are part of the University of Texas network.
The size of the Hispanic enrollment was one of the factors in assessing the graduate and professional schools.
As numbers increase, the sheer quantity of Hispanic students can turn into a "critical mass," says Shelli Soto, dean of admissions at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. Along with that critical mass, law schools need professors and programs that address legal issues of concern to U.S. Hispanics, and the third ingredient to that mix should be a powerful and active Hispanic professional community. Once that occurs, the university becomes a very vibrant learning environment, Ms. Soto said.
The College of Law at ASU, which is number two on our list of Top 10 law schools, boasts a large enrollment of Hispanics. Eighty out of 595 law students, or 13 percent, are Hispanic. Those numbers are eclipsed, however, by the 102 budding lawyers at University of New Mexico (UNM), the list's leading school of law, who account for an impressive 29 percent of the school's student body.
By The Numbers
The percentage of Hispanic students in our elite schools lists ranges from two percent at Purdue University's College of Engineering, to 80 percent at University of Texas at El Paso's School of Business.
The University of New Mexico consistently enrolls high numbers of Hispanics, who make up 28 percent of the School of Medicine, 40 percent of the School of Engineering, and 29 percent of the School of Law. The percentage of Hispanic students in the top schools ranges from 10 to 20 percent. The largest number of Hispanic students overall is 211 at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, which is number seven on the list.
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