Gaps in Texas’ Ethnic Enrollment Concern Demographer
SAN ANTONIOTexas’ top demographer says enrollment gaps between Whites and minorities in the state’s higher education system will likely be larger than originally believed. Steve Murdock, chief demographer for the Texas State Data Center at Texas A&M University, says that judging by current growth figures, minority graduation rates at universities would not reach parity with Anglo graduation rates until 2070. Minorities already are underrepresented at the higher education level, posing a greater challenge in ensuring Texas has an adequately trained work force in the coming years, members of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board were told in Austin last month. Based partly on 2000 census figures, Texas is poised to become a “minority-majority” state earlier than officials thought, Murdock says. “The gap that needs to be closed is likely to be greater than we anticipated,” Murdock told the board. The state’s population grew more than expected, to 20.8 million in 2000, up from 16.9 million in 1990, and minorities accounted for Texas’ most significant growth. Most growth occurred in the biggest cities and along the border with Mexico, Murdock says. Hispanic and Black populations grew faster than the White population. It is anticipated that Texas will be less than half Anglo by 2005, he says. Last year, higher education officials commissioned the study “Closing the Gaps” to address issues related to increasing minority participation in colleges and universities. A key goal that emerged from that study was to add 500,000 students to the college rolls through 2015.
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