Jose Alonso Navarro emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 8 from Guadalajara, Mexico. As a young student, teachers often confused his lack of English for a lack of intelligence. But Navarro knew he wanted to go to college, so he took his educational journey into his own hands and found his way to San Diego State University in 2008.
Now, four years later, the 21-year old is getting his bachelor’s degree in arguably one of the most complicated disciplines – aerospace engineering.
“I am a first generation college student and that has always been a challenge,” Navarro said. “Through the mentorship of great faculty and staff, I began to do research and was accepted to the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program.”
The MARC Program is one example of a multitude of programs focused on fostering the success of minority students at SDSU and has contributed to SDSU being recognized again this year by Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education’s Top 100 Colleges for Hispanics.
Where SDSU Stands
The rankings, released on Monday, list San Diego State University 11th in the nation and fourth in California for bachelor’s degrees awarded to Hispanics.
“We maintain very high academic expectations and academic support for all our students so they can excel,” said SDSU Provost Nancy Marlin. “This new ranking reflects that we are continuing to make substantial progress toward the important mission of eliminating the achievement gap.”
Serving Hispanic Students
One-year continuation rates for new Hispanic freshmen enrollees increased from 81.3 percent for fall 2009 to 87.2 percent for fall 2010. Additionally, six-year graduation rates among Hispanics increased from 52.8 percent in 2007/08 (fall 2002 cohort) to 58.3 percent for 2010/11 (fall 2005 cohort).
The rankings come on the heels of SDSU being named a Hispanic-Serving Institution, an honor bestowed on the university in early April by the U.S. Department of Education. More than 30 percent of freshmen enrollees in fall 2011 were Hispanic — the highest percentage ever at SDSU.
The Rest of the Rankings
Published in the May 7 issue of Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, the rankings were compiled using 2011 data from the National Center for Education Statistics when SDSU conferred bachelor’s degrees on 1,416 students of Hispanic descent.
SDSU also ranked No. 28 for master’s degrees awarded to Hispanics by the same publication, with 217 degrees conferred during the 2010-2011 academic year.
Additionally, SDSU ranked in the top 10 nationally in seven areas of study, including English literature (No.6), Chicano Studies (No. 8), Homeland Security (No. 7), mathematics (No.9), parks, recreation, leisure and fitness studies (No. 6), public administration (No.5) and psychology (No. 6).
Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education produces the “Top 100 Colleges for Hispanics” rankings annually. The information is based on data provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center of Education Statistics. A complete list of the rankings can be found at www.hispanicoutlook.com.