Since 2004, there has been a 207 percent increase in Hispanic/Latino student enrollment at Utah’s public higher education institutions, according to USHE data. In 2014, 15,493 Hispanic/Latino students were enrolled in college, a notable increase from 5,041 in 2004. In just one year (2013-2014), the demographic increased 6.5 percent from the previous school year, the highest increase compared to all other ethnicities.
According to USHE data, Utah Valley University has seen the largest increase in Hispanic/Latino student enrollment from 2004-2014 at 382 percent, followed by Weber State University with a 267 percent increase and Dixie State University* with a 238 percent increase over that same time period. These institutions have strong Hispanic/Latino initiatives and have college Latinos in Action (LIA) chapters whose mission is to “Empower Latino youth to be college and career ready through culture, service, leadership, and excellence in education.” Additionally, Utah State University, the University of Utah, Snow College, and Salt Lake Community College also have LIA college chapters.
A large part of the shift in the Hispanic/Latino demographic in Utah higher education institutions is due partly to greater efforts in high schools by recruiters and counselors, along with providing more information to students and parents on how to apply for financial aid. A large part of Weber State University’s Hispanic/Latino growth, for example, is attributed to recruiting programs geared towards Weber County’s Latino population. The university’s Community Education Center runs college information meetings geared towards underserved and nontraditional students and their families.