Texas is enrolling more students in college, but the state needs to do more to persuade Hispanics and African-American men to participate in higher education and ultimately complete a degree or certificate program, Texas Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes said Tuesday.
Paredes gave a preview of recent trends detailed in a 2011 "Closing the Gaps" report that will be submitted to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board this week.
"Closing the Gaps by 2015: The Texas Higher Education Plan" is the state's blueprint for higher-education improvement. It sets goals and targets to be met by 2015.
"We are making very substantial and significant progress," Paredes said in a telephone news conference Tuesday. "We are ahead of our goal in terms of participation. We are ahead of our goal in terms of completion."
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The statewide 2010 target for participation in higher education was 403,000, and the report says Texas had 486,000 students. The statewide number of people completing their higher learning was also promising: 176,600 earned degrees or certificates, whereas the target was 171,000.
The students are enrolled at public, private and for-profit institutions offering degrees.
"We still have some very substantial challenges," Paredes said, explaining that statistics show that Hispanics and African-American men are below targets.
Participation among Hispanics was 207,800 in 2010; the target was 236,600. The 2015 goal is 438,700. The 2010 success rate fell below expectations also: 47,800 Hispanics completed their educational program, compared with the target of 50,000, according to the coordinating board.
While African-Americans showed the highest participation when measured by enrollment divided by total population, there was a disparity among African-American women and men, with 8.1 percent of women participating versus 5.1 percent of men, according to a preview of the report.
Diane Smith, 817-390-7675