CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — West Texas A&M will celebrate its fifth anniversary as an official Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as the enrollment of Hispanic students continues to grow at the university, according to a press release from WT’s Communications Dept.
The department stated that WT had qualified for HSI statues in 2016 meaning, “an institution’s full-time equivalency must be at least 25% of the overall undergraduate population.”
Enrollment of Hispanic students continues to grow 21% with Hispanics making up 28.71% of WT’s overall student population, including part-time, international and graduate students as of Fall 2020, according to WT.
“This continued growth reflects not only the changing demographics of the Texas Panhandle, but also the recruitment efforts put forward by WT in attracting Hispanic students to our campus,” said Angela Allen, chief office of diversity and inclusion.
President Walter V. Wendler described the importance of a diverse student body.
“Our long-term goal, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World, calls on WT to recruit a student body that reflects the diverse population of the Texas Panhandle,” Wendler said. “Regional universities that act and think locally will reach globally. Diversity in the student body, faculty and staff directly supports the intellectual mission of the University by assuring that a broad and relevant set of experiences, perspectives, needs and talents are present in the academic community.”
The HSI qualification became official when the program was awarded a “Strengthening Program” $2.5 million grant by the Dept. of Education in September 2016. The grant has funded the “Building Relationships to Bolster Retention” program, which provides coaching for students including first-generation and minority student populations, according to the release.
WT offers programs and organizations for underrepresented students, students of color and first-generation students including the “Hispanic Students Association,” the department explained.
According to the release, WT’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion is planning activities for “Hispanic Heritage Month” in the fall.
Hispanic students are eligible for the “Boards of Regents’ Scholarship” fund, which “targets underrepresented populations, including new freshmen or new transfer students from Texas who are minority students, first-generation students, and students from low-income,” WT stated.