May 9, 1990
By Yolanda Reynolds
Dr. Roberto Cruz, founding president of the National Hispanic University last week announced that the University was making San Jose its new headquarters. This announcement was made atSupervisor Gonzales’ “Speakers Forum“ held at the Le Baron Hotel, Wednesday at noon, May 2.
The National Hispanic University (NHU) was founded in 1981. It’s first home was in Berkeley and, more recently, it has been located in Oakland. The University plans to make Oakland the site of a satellite campus.
Besides providing its students with a quality education, the University is unique in that NHU’s educational program is designed to emphasize support systems. Support systems are widely recognized for aiding students by enhancing their potential for success and academic achievement. The University also provides role models with a positive and success oriented image to students and will encourage its students to reach for the highest attainment of their dreams.
According to Dr. Cruz, the University was “not designed to substitute for existing colleges and universities but it was designed to meet the educational needs of Hispanic students.”
According to the latest reports on the educational achievement of American youth, the dropout rate from high school of all youth is high. it is particularly high, however, for Hispanic youth, generally ranging around 35-50%.
Nationwide college enrollment of Hispanics stands at only 3%. Of the 3% in college, very few are ‘enrolled in science and engineering programs. Such low enrollment is a serious concern for a variety of reasons. To remain competitive in the technological world the U.S. cannot afford an unskilled community in the sciences and engineering. A worker shortage is predicted in these fields. It is predicted that this shortage of skilled workers will cause a crisis affecting the economic well-being of the Nation.
Since our nation’s future workforce pool will be primarily minority and female, the educational systems must change and improve their ability to teach all students effectively.
According to a recent report’ “Who Takes Science” published by the American Institute of Physics part of the reason students don’t enroll in advanced science and math courses is because of low teacher expectations. “Tracking” is still practiced. Those students not in college prep classes were found to be neither encouraged not expected to take other than the minimum number of classes in science or mathematics even though many of these students had an aptitude for mathematics.
According to Dr. Cruz, the relative success of Black students enrolled in other colleges; was found to be in part because of the Black instructor’s high expectations for their students. Dr. Cruz and his colleagues discovered in studying the success of Black colleges and universities that student retention, student success and later their prominence in the community was a result of the total experience these students had in the all black colleges and universities.
Such phenomenon also occurred with the Jewish institutions of higher learning. This is an interesting and positive by product resulting from the need to establish in this country separate institutions for Blacks and people of the Jewish faith because they were denied access to other colleges and universities or felt discrimination at these other institutions.
Lack of money for college attendance is also a major obstacle for many minority students. Recent cutbacks in grants available to youth who wish to attend college has had a marked impact. In a recent study for the American College Testing Program (A.C.T.), it was reported that families with less than $24,000.00 in annual income are less likely to borrow money. The students feared accumulating large debts without the certainty of success in college classes.
Even though many states have reduced ﬁnancial support to needy students, some private institutions have increased and even doubled the ﬁnancial aid available. But even so, some these very colleges do not actively seek minority students. This same study also found that there was very little effort made to attract and even hire minority staff.
Zeke Garcia. EOPS’ counselor, at San Jose City College says that aid to low income students has been reduced so much in recent years that those students wishing to attend classes full time can receive no more than 60% of their ﬁnancial needs. Attending classes part time is very difficult and requires even more determination. It also leaves very little time for study when the student has to work as well.
Another important component found to impact academic success for students. is the support that students lend to each other from studying together. In addition, these schools also provide many role models for the students to emulate. The schools also provide an array of student support services such as; counseling tutoring, and, by self-selection, a compatible student population, which resulted in the students staying together.
In a recent report published by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in Princeton, New Jersey, the American Council in Education found that, among other student breaches of acceptable conduct such as drug abuse and alcoholism on today’s campus, was an unacceptable degree of racism.
The National Hispanic University is recognized by the United States Department of Education as a four year post secondary educational institution.
Since 1981, NHU has graduated 420 students. That is a good number of students considering that its array of programs is, for the time being, limited.
The University offers and A.A. degree in Liberal Studies in conjunction with California State University at Hayward and a B.A. degree in Business Administration.
Because of the cost involved in providing a full-fledged engineering program, the University has made provisions for it’s engineering student by providing a cooperative program between NHU and Cal State Hayward.
In graduate studies, a student can earn a Master in Business Administration or Education. Temporarily the campus offices will be on Gish Rd. in San Jose. By June 1 of this year the University will have counselors there to help students who wish to enroll in the University.
Supervisor Ron Gonzales, in welcoming the arrival of the National Hispanic University said, “Now Hispanics will have the opportunity to choose. Opportunity and choice are not only buzzwords but keys to our success in the future. I am proud to welcome… the National Hispanic University to San Jose.”
Following Garcia’s presentation, the banquet room was filled with the hum of excitement. The audience composed of representatives from many Hispanic organizations and other individuals, began to discuss among themselves ways in which they could lend support; some were discussing fund raising for student aid. Other discussions involved the feeling that NHU would have a positive impact in the community for a variety of reasons. The audience was clearly happy with the news that the National Hispanic University had decided that it would make San Jose its home base.
The University expects to open its doors in time to accept its first students in San Jose this September. Persons interested in enrolling in the University can contact the University at (415) 451-0511.