Hispanic enrollment at CSUN among highest in nation

Melanie Saxe

CSUN is ranked ninth in the nation with the highest Hispanic student graduate school enrollment, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Of 6,204 students who graduated from CSUN in 2005, 1,295 of them were Hispanic – 21 percent of the total.

But that percentage is still low according to David Moguel, assistant professor of secondary education.

“Compared to the high number of Hispanic residents in Los Angeles, there should be more students enrolled,” Moguel said.

Moguel claimed Hispanics comprise 73.3 percent of high school students in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Laura Gomez, a Chicano/a Studies major, plans on going for her master’s degree, and possibly her doctorate. She will be the first in her family to graduate.

She realized in her junior year that she wanted to continue her education. Her career plan is to become a teacher.

She said she thinks the numbers make sense because CSUN has the largest Chicano/a Studies department in the nation.

The data further shows that CSUN is ranked 25th in the nation with the most Hispanic students who physically receive a master’s degree.

Of the 1,292 students who graduated from CSUN with a master’s degree last year, 209 were Hispanic – 16 percent of the total.

Chicano/a Studies Department Chair David Rodriguez said although the percentages are higher than usual, he hopes they will increase.

The Chicano/a Studies Department has more than 50 students enrolled for their master’s degrees, Rodriguez said. He said he hopes that numbers for his department will increase as well. He would like to see more efforts to promote the department.

Rodriguez said it helps to have a university that is so diverse.

“CSUN is being recognized as a diverse school, and that makes the students feel more comfortable,” Rodriguez said.

He remembers when he was enrolled at CSUN and felt he was part of the numerical minority.

He said that now, although the student population is diverse, the faculty is still not diverse enough.

Another major reason why Hispanics do not continue higher education is that the elementary and high schools are not geared toward college, Moguel said.

“Students have a lack of college ethics,” he said. “They are not surrounded by other students who are college-oriented.”

President of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers on campus Miguel Urrea said the organization often goes to elementary and high schools to encourage young students to continue their education.

It took Urrea some time to find out about the financial aid available to him. He also said that joining the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers provided the support he needed.

“It helps because you are surrounded by people going through the same thing and who have the same goals.”