Latino students target of new admissions office in Valley
A celebration at UH’s Rio Grande Valley admissions office on Tuesday in McAllen underlined the new facility’s success in recruiting and enrolling prospective students, specifically Latinos, from southern Texas.
The new regional facility, which opened its doors in July 2013, aims to find potential students and connect them with the University by guiding them through all the necessary steps — including the financial aid process — in order for them to become a student. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was part of the celebration, followed by a reception at the Lone Star National Bank.
Director of Student Recruitment Jeff Fuller said he is eager to unite RGV students to the UH campus in Houston and said that, as of July, UH-RGV has enrolled more than 100 students.
“We want to enroll, not just recruit, students from the Rio Grande Valley and see those numbers increase every year. But we also want to make sure that students that are coming to University of Houston from that area are held at that same threshold of being college-ready,” Fuller said. “On a personal note, I myself am from Corpus Christi — so not too far away from the south Texas area — and I know what it’s like to leave home and go to the University of Houston.”
Representatives from both Texas senators’ offices attended and acknowledged the contributions that UH is doing in the Rio Grande Valley. Other attendees included UH President Renu Khator and UH Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Paula Myrick Short.
According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Latino population is projected to grow by at least 7.6 percent between 2012 and 2015; by 2019, Latinos will become the largest ethnic group in Texas. The University is designated as a Hispanic-serving institution, which means that at least 20 percent of enrolled students are Hispanic or Latino. That number is expected to rise.
“We recognize and relish in the fact that we are the second-most ethnically diverse institution of higher education in the country and by far the most diverse institution of higher education in the South and in Texas,” Fuller said. “Diversity is what sets the University of Houston apart. It’s what draws students to the campus, and it’s what makes students really connected to the campus right away.”
According to UH’s Institutional Research, 26.9 percent of students who enrolled in Fall 2013 were Latino. That’s an increase of 0.9 percent since 2012 and at least 2 percent since 2011. Communications senior Erik Foster said he loves that UH is diverse, but he’s concerned that the University may be neglecting its advising duties back home.
“It’s good to have an admissions office in another part of the state to recruit other people to the University,” Foster said. “But the University should first focus on taking care of the students here. They need to do more here.”