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Copyright (c) 1996 Texas Hispanic Journal of Law & Policy
Texas Hispanic Journal of Law & Policy

COMMENT: Hispanics and the Mainstream: The Role of Higher Education


2 Tex. Hisp. J.L. & Pol'y 7


Manuel J. Justiz *


With Hispanics and other minorities making up an increasingly larger share of the U.S. work force, it is clear that the nation's future prosperity greatly depends on an expansion of opportunities in higher education for these emerging groups. Education has always been the primary vehicle of economic opportunity in the United States, and it is even more so in today's information-oriented society. An ample supply of highly trained workers, capable of analytical and innovative thinking, will be essential in the demanding and complex workplace of tomorrow.

Yet Hispanics, who represent the fastest-growing segment of our population, account for only 4.9% of all students enrolled in institutions of higher education nationwide. Only 2.9% of all undergraduate degrees and 1.8% of doctoral degrees go to Hispanics. 1 What is more, these degrees tend to be concentrated largely in education; as a result, Hispanics are seriously underrepresented in math, science, engineering, and other career fields that are vital in a globally competitive, technological society.

Hispanics are also scarce among college faculty and administrators. The American Council on Education reports that only 2.2% of all full-time faculty and 2.6% of part-time faculty in the nation's higher education system are Hispanic. Likewise, among college and university presidents, only about 2% are Hispanic. 2

In Texas, which operates the second-largest system of higher education in the nation, these participation rates are somewhat higher than the national averages; however, when examined in the context of the state's large and rapidly growing Hispanic population, they still ...
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