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U.S. News & World Report ranking underscores UTA’s commitment to diversity

Monday, October 26, 2015

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

News Topics: admissions, faculty, staff, students

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The University of Texas at Arlington continues to shine in the national rankings and has once again been named one of the nation’s top universities for ethnic diversity, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Colleges Rankings for 2016.

U.S. News & World Report took into consideration undergraduate enrollment based on a school’s proportion of minority students and the overall mix of ethnic groups.

UTA’s “diversity index” ranks fifth among national universities – a measure of where college students seeking diversity are “most likely to encounter undergraduates from racial or ethnic groups different from their own,” the news organization said.

For its ranking, U.S. News & World Report analyzed data from the 2014-15 academic year. The magazine evaluated undergraduate enrollment based on a school’s proportion of minority students and the overall mix of ethnic groups. Each school was assigned an index from 0.0 to 1.0 with 1.0 being the most diverse. UTA’s index was 0.71, while that of top-ranked Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, was 0.76.

Earlier this fall, UTA announced record enrollment of 37,008 Texas-based, degree-seeking students – up more than 2,100 students over Fall 2014 -- and based on large increases in the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, the School of Social Work and the College of Education. Combined enrollment for campus-based and online programs is expected to surpass 55,000 students this academic year.

From the current undergraduate population of 25,168, 29 percent identified themselves as Hispanic. African-Americans made up 14 percent, while Asians accounted for 12 percent of the undergraduate population. The percentages were up in each category compared with Fall 2014. 

Gains were also seen in degrees awarded to African-American and Hispanic students with the most notable being the 1,944 degrees awarded to Hispanic students. Of the total 10,585 degrees awarded during the 2014-15 academic year, 1,414 went to African-American students.

The latest recognition comes on the heels of UTA receiving a new $2.62 million Department of Education grant for the establishment of the Innovation, Diversity, Excellence, Access and Success, or IDEAS, Center – a resource aimed at helping increase graduation and retention rates among Hispanic and lower-income students.

UTA is the only four-year university in North Texas to receive the 2015 Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program grant that will enhance services for transfer and other non-traditional students to help more underserved students earn college degrees. UTA was designated a Hispanic Serving Institution in 2014 and was named the Outstanding HACU-Member Institution the same year.

University President Vistasp M. Karbhari said the national recognition comes as UTA enhances its efforts to represent the community it serves while increasing the richness of experiences for all students.

“Diversity is fundamental to our goals, values, success and growth as the model 21st century urban research university,” said Dr. Karbhari. “Our student enrollment, recruitment, retention, research activity and co-curricular and extracurricular programs all align with our efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion at UTA. We will continue dedicating ourselves to ensure that students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to earn the very highest quality education in an environment of complete inclusiveness.”

State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, a distinguished UTA alumnus, commended his alma mater and its success in advancing diversity in higher education.

“As a Texas State Senator who has championed the cause of accessibility to higher education for all students, I’m delighted that my alma mater has been recognized for its efforts to advance access, equity and inclusion in higher education,” Sen. West said. “This is a tremendous honor for UTA, its students, faculty, staff, alumni, collaborators and other supporters worldwide.

“Diversity enhances institutional excellence by improving learning, stimulating critical thinking, creativity in research and workplace productivity, and I think this recognition by U.S. News & World Report is clearly well-deserved.”

State Rep. Ramon Romero Jr., D-Fort Worth, also commended UTA for the example the University sets locally, regionally, nationally and beyond.

"The University of Texas at Arlington is providing students from all backgrounds the chance to develop the necessary skills and educational attainment to be successful,” Rep. Romero said. “Diverse institutions of higher education such as UTA continue to demonstrate commitment to students by providing access to programs and other resources in pursuit of the highest quality education."

Earlier this year UTA’s University Crossroads program was recognized with the 2015 Miguel Hidalgo Award by the Oak Cliff Coalition for the Arts for its educational outreach and widespread impact on the Hispanic community through efforts in providing access to Latinos in pursuit of higher education.

UTA was also recently named one of the Top 200 Colleges for Native Americans by the Winds of Change magazine.

UTA’s efforts to enhance diversity and support students are further reinforced through specific centers such as the Center for African American Studies, the Center for Mexican American Studies, and the Center for Hispanic Studies in Nursing and Health. The last is in the UTA College of Nursing and Health Innovation and has become a go-to resource center for the health and human condition of underserved and culturally diverse Spanish-language populations in Texas and abroad.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 51,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UTA as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014.  The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as a “Best for Vets” college by Military Times magazine. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at http://www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.