Texas’ Missing Hispanic Students

Career College Central Summary:

  • Hispanic students may have been kept away from Texas’ public research universities after the Legislature allowed state colleges to set their own tuition prices, according to a study published this month in The Annals, a journal of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
  • The study comes as Texas officials appear hard-pressed to meet 15-year enrollment targets for Hispanic students.
  • The findings also touch on broader issues in Texas and among those seeking to encourage Latino enrollment in colleges nationally.
  • The report, by two Vanderbilt University scholars, Stella Flores and Justin Shepherd, examined Texas tuition policy after the Legislature in 2003 deregulated college prices.
  • Before then, state lawmakers set tuition themselves and generally kept the rates the same across the state.
  • The deregulation policy put university boards in charge of tuition and set few limits on the amount a college could charge.
  • As they see it: Tuition at comparable research universities increased more in Texas than in other states in the first years of deregulation, 2003 to 2006.
  • During the same period, the number of Hispanic students who enrolled at those universities was lower than would otherwise have been expected. The research stops in 2007 because Florida, a key comparison state, deregulated tuition in 2007.
  • According to the paper, the seven universities would have enrolled 9 percent more Hispanic first-time students apiece in those years, had deregulation-related tuition increases not occurred.

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