More than 100 Latino students from the U.S. and Latin America visited Cabrini University this week as part of the National Hispanic Institute (NHI) Collegiate World Series 2014.
Recent high school graduates and college students from different parts of the U.S. as well as Puerto Rico, Mexico, Dominican Republic, among other countries, gained insight into the admissions process of the higher education institution located in King of Prussia, in Radnor Township — 30 miles northeast of Philadelphia.
Cabrini President Donald B. Taylor, welcomed students July 7 and talked about the diverse student body of the university, made up of people of different religions, cultures and cultural backgrounds.
“Cabrini is excited to host the Collegiate World Series to further engage with the growing number of college-bound students in the Latino community,” Taylor said. “NHI’s mission to develop leaders through personal excellence, a strong belief in family and culture, and service to others aligns with Cabrini’s mission and commitment to the first-generation college students the college traditionally serves.”
According to him, a third part of the student body is composed of first generation college students.
Cabrini’s efforts to better appeal to Latino students has paid off in the last years although there’s still room for growth.
Currently 5.3 percent of students are Latino compared to 1.4 percent in 2009.
“We’ve been working to engage more Latino students for a long time time but the Collegiate World Series is definitely our biggest effort so far,” said Bob Reese, vice president of enrollment management.
“We want to get closer to national statistics,” he added in reference to Latino students who represented 19 percent of all college students in the U.S. in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center.
This percentage is the highest in the history of the nation and, the rate of enrolling Latino college students has surpassed that of whites.
In total, 49 percent of 18 to 24-year-old Latinos is enrolled in college, compared to 47 percent of whites. However the graduation rate among Latinos is lower.
Because Cabrini is a private institution, the cost of tuition —$28,000 per year— is the same for U.S. citizens and residents, as well as for international and out-of-state students.
The participants in the Collegiate World Series who have the benefit of American citizenship or residency gained insight into the complicated process of applying for financial aid.
All of them, regardless of their country of origin, learned about scholarships and financing options.
“As more and more Latinos are going to college, we want to make sure that not only do they have access to higher education, but also that they graduate from college,” Reese said. “We want to show them that we are the university for them, that we are committed, and that we have a vibrant community and the tools to help them succeed in college.”
For Cabrini, hosting the event is an opportunity to strengthen bonds with a growing number of Latino students on their way to college.
“For our student body, diversity brings new perspectives to the classroom, and sharing ideas between students of different backgrounds increases the educational value,” Reese said.
For the NHI, it is an opportunity to cultivate a new generation of Latino leaders, something particularly important when considering that, regardless of the growth of the community, Latino representation in positions of power, whether in the public or private sector, still lags behind and is far from achieving maximum potential.
Founded in 1979, NHI has more than 85,000 alumni, 98 percent of whom have received at least a college degree.
The Collegiate World Series at Cabrini University is the third and final event for high school students in the NHI leadership series.