One in five Colorado college students is a minority

One in five Colorado college students is a minority


The number of minorities enrolled in Colorado’s colleges and universities has not grown much despite efforts to increase diversity on campuses.

Last year, about one in five undergraduate students in Colorado’s public higher education system was minority, a 0.5 increase over 2003. Only 16 percent of those minority students were Black and Hispanic.

“Getting more minority students should be a high priority, but there’s no quick fix to this,” said Ray Baker, chairman of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

Counselors say a lack of money is only one of the factors involved. They believe too few teachers and parents push minority students toward college and that some students don’t have realistic goals about the planning and grades needed to gain entrance to college.

Billy Brown, a counselor from Denver Kids Inc., said he has students tell him they wanted to go to UCLA even though they barely had 1.8 grade point averages.

Others say that minority students worry about what their peers would say about attending a predominantly White school.

“There’s a fear that you won’t be respected anymore,” said Ruben Chavez, a counselor assistant at Denver’s Thomas Jefferson High School. “Bettering yourself is seen as a negative.”

Just under 10 percent of the students at Western State College in Gunnison are minorities, the lowest rate in the state. Sally Romero, the school’s multicultural affairs director, spends a lot of time traveling around the state to try to attract more minority students to the school.

Durango’s Fort Lewis College, where about a quarter of the students are minorities, has hired a minority admissions counselor to boost their enrollment.

At the University of Colorado in Boulder, about 13 percent of the 29,000 students were minorities last year. The rate has remained steady since 1998.

–Associated Press

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