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N.C. Colleges Prepare for Hispanic Boom

AR Articles on the Demographic Transformation
Writing on the Wall (Aug. 2001)
Birth Rates: Who is Winning the Race? (Nov. 2000)
If We Do Nothing (Jun. 1996)
More news stories on the Demographic Transformation

AP, Earthlink, Jul. 9

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — As the daughter of native Puerto Ricans, Arlene Rivera grew up in Fayetteville surrounded by just a handful of other Spanish speakers.

“I always wanted a Hispanic teacher growing up,” said Rivera, who was often the only Hispanic student in her classes. “I thought it would be the coolest thing.”

Now, the 20-year-old Rivera is scheduled to graduate from Fayetteville State University next year with a degree in elementary education, preparing her to be a role model to the booming number of Hispanic students crowding North Carolina schools.

In the 1990s, North Carolina’s Hispanic population quadrupled, growing at the highest rate of any state in the nation.

As Hispanic populations explode in the South and continue to grow in the West, colleges are working hard to recruit high school graduates.

“It’s going to keep us busy for many years to come,” said Robert Kanoy, associate vice president for access and outreach for the 16-campus University of North Carolina system. “You really have to be aware of the nuances.”

Based on current elementary enrollment numbers, officials estimate Hispanics will make up a third of North Carolina’s high school graduates by 2013.

“I’ve seen the big spurt,” said Rivera, whose father was among the many Hispanics who came to the area for assignments at Fort Bragg. “Now, you see a bunch of different names that are Hispanic.”

Similar changes are ahead for other Southern states that saw their Hispanic populations boom in the 1990s, including Arkansas (up 337 percent), Georgia (300 percent), Tennessee (278 percent), and South Carolina (211 percent).

In the West, Hispanic populations have deeper roots, so universities there have already dealt with language barriers, said David Longanecker, executive director of the Boulder, Colo.-based Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

Even so, states throughout the region are preparing for huge growth in the number of Hispanic students during the next decade. Arizona expects the number of high school students to rise 65 percent, with nearly all the increase coming from the Hispanic population. Nevada expects a doubling of its high school population, again driven by Hispanic students.

Nationally, Longanecker’s group projects that by 2008, Hispanics will account for 21 percent of the country’s public high school graduates, up from 17 percent in 2002.

Longanecker said many colleges and universities need to make subtle changes to make Hispanic students feel more welcome.

“Our college campuses in many cases are simply not very conducive to students from different cultures,” he said.

A study released last month by the Pew Hispanic Center found that even though Hispanic high school graduates are seeking higher education at the same rate as comparable whites, they are only half as likely as whites to earn a bachelor’s degree.

The study said that is because a disproportionate number of Hispanic students end up at less-selective, “open-door” schools that tend to have lower graduation rates.

In North Carolina, Hispanics account for just 1.7 percent of the 183,000 students at the North Carolina’s public universities. But they are the fastest-growing segment of the student body.

At Fayetteville State, a historically black university with about 5,300 students, the number of Hispanics grew 30 percent between 1998 and 2003. About 4 percent of current students are Hispanic, the highest percentage at any state institution.

At a time when universities compete vigorously for students, Fayetteville State seeks to better understand and target Hispanics.

The school has hired a bilingual counselor to help recruit students from Spanish-speaking families, it translates basic documents into Spanish and advertises in a national college guide for Hispanics. Recruiters hold receptions for Hispanic families and are partnering with Hispanic community groups to extend their reach.

“We’ve got to serve that population if we’re going to meet our enrollment goals,” said associate vice chancellor Jon Young. “We’re trying to look at ways we can be more approachable.”

Even if Hispanics are made to feel welcome, there are still barriers — such as immigration status — that can keep them off public campuses.

As many as 1,450 illegal immigrants graduated from North Carolina high schools this spring, according to an estimate from El Pueblo, a Raleigh-based Hispanic advocacy group. The Urban Institute based in Washington, D.C., estimates 65,000 such graduates nationwide.

But public universities in North Carolina and many other states don’t accept applications from illegal immigrants and don’t offer them financial aid.

Federal lawmakers are debating a bill that would grant residency to undocumented students, qualifying them for in-state tuition. A Senate committee has endorsed the idea.

Comments from Readers


From: Courtney

Yes, as an Alabamian I have noticed this “hispanic boom” going on in the southern states. It has gotten to the point where Wal-Mart has become a hang-out for hispanics as well as blacks. The blacks keep to themselves and don’t really bother me. The hispanics do. The hispanics walking around the Wal-Marts down here look as if they have just jumped the border. They are mostly made up of young males, which poses as a serious threat for white females. I honestly don’t feel comfortable walking around Wal-Mart anymore. I can’t walk down any isle without getting stared at. One time a couple of hispanic men sitting on a bench out front watched me walk all the way from my car to the front door. Later, as I was leaving, they were still sitting there. I just kept thinking “please don’t bother me, please don’t bother me”. Thankfully they didn’t. When I lived over in the Middle East for a while as an army child,(a teenager at the time), I had to put up with this behavior a lot. I never thought that when I got back to the States I would have to put up with it anymore.




From: RobertB

Courtney,

Get a can of mace, serious mace. Also, call the police and tell them you feel threatened by loitering men. It’s our tactic where I live, black or hispanic. THe police, by law, must respond. Also, tell Walmart exactly how you feel and tell them you will shop else where if the situation is allowed to persist. If Alabama is a right to carry state, then get in a gun course and get a permit.

Jeez, what’s wrong with those southern boys?

Pass this along to your other friends.


From: Jan

So, what is the difference in an out-of-state citizen lying about his residency status, or a criminal lying about his background, than to accept an illegal immigrant who has broken immigration law in granting in-state tuition? The slippery slope has been breached. Who is the worst criminal — someone who has entered illegally, taken entitlements and education paid for by the taxpayer that he did not deserve, or a citizen who simply states he has been a resident when he hasn’t, or a rapist or terrorist, who lies to get the same treatment? It appears if the illegal’s background is not questioned, it would be discrimination to check anyone else’s.

When in-state tuition is granted to illegal immigrants, the matter of affirmative action also raises its racist head, and besides being given something for which they are not entitled, their applications will get preferential status OVER WHITE AMERICAN CITIZENS of the state. This means they will get slots in our colleges and our citizens’ children turned away. Taxation without representation is tyranny, and I believe we are seeing our nation turn into what the founders of this nation rebelled successfully against.

Why would our sovereign nation continue to cheapen our citizenship? We must ask ourselves how much farther we can continue when citizens of a foreign nation, in our country illegally, will decide the outcome of our presidential election. Some hard decisions must be made — and fast.


From: Drew

The politicians have made it so that the taxpayers pay for illegals up through highschool. Now I bet they are trying to rig it so that we pay for their college education. And a majority of them won’t even be able to graduate!


From: Herodotus

To: Occupied L.A

Sorry to trouble you, but I did try Google, and nothing much came up — I don’t have a whole lot of experience searching for crime statistics over the Internet. The incidents you mentioned were easy enough to find, but I was wondering, might you be able to provide the specific website, news report, or whatever it was you based your statement “Indians are a minority of physicians in CA, but represent a majority of physicians nabbed every year for billing scams and malpractice.” Sorry to be a bother, but it would likely be of great assistance to me to do some research, and others reading this forum might also appreciate it. Thanks muchly in advance!


From: spartacus

John Edwards held out a big welcome to illegals when he rhapsodized recently about these new “immigrants.” The town in NC (Robbins)where he grew up is now 50% hispanic. We really are on the eve of destruction.


From: john jackson

To Herodotus

You can s searching for info about indian doctors, because it doesn’t exist. I’ve spent the last couple of days looking for it and haven’t found anything remotely close to what OIL said. I’d be greatly interested in data that proved indian doctors have more malpractice lawsuits filed against them than others, per capita, but it appears OIL made up this bit of info. Why he would do this, I don’t know because there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest indian doctors commit a large percentage of the sexual assaults in the medical community. In fact there is a story about such a case in the AR archives.

Original article

(Posted on July 9, 2004)

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