Today on the Arlington Campus, Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe are hosting a Latino Summit to share information about Commonwealth resources and services and to collect input from the Latino community. Latinos are an important and growing part of Northern Virginia. And Mason.
In Northern Virginia, the Hispanic community has grown much faster than the overall population. Between 2009 and 2013 (the most recent year for available data), the Latino population grew by 24 percent as compared to the 9.4 percent growth in total population. Latinos now comprise about 15 percent of the Northern Virginia population.
This population growth has been reflected here at Mason. Latino student enrollments have grown every year since 2009 and have been the main driver of growth (on a percent basis second only to Pacific Islanders, a much smaller base). Latino enrollment between 2009 and 2013 grew by 44 percent compared to the 5.8 percent of total enrollment growth. Latino students now make up 10 percent of Mason’s total enrollment.
A previous post on this blog highlighted the diversity of Mason students and the minimal achievement gaps compared to other universities. Latino students at Mason have in fact a slightly higher six-year graduation rate than their white peers. At most other universities, the average graduation rate for Latinos is several percentage points below white students.
Among “high” and “very high” research universities, Hispanics trail mainstream students by 6 percent, and among Virginia doctoral universities, by 1 percent. Mason is setting Latino students on a path to success.
That path should widen. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that more than 31 percent of Northern Virginia Latinos are under 18. So Latino enrollments at Mason will likely continue to grow. To that we say, maravilloso! Wonderful. Increased diversity will make our university stronger and our community more globally connected and competitive.