In Fifth Year as Hispanic Serving Institution, WT’s Hispanic Student Population Continues to Grow

Chip Chandler Jun 14, 2021
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In Fifth Year as Hispanic Serving Institution, WT’s Hispanic Student Population Continues to Grow

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — West Texas A&M University will soon celebrate its fifth anniversary as an official Hispanic Serving Institution, and enrollment of Hispanic students continues to grow.

WT qualified for HSI status in 2016. To qualify, an institution’s Hispanic full-time equivalency must be at least 25 percent of the overall undergraduate population.

Since that time, overall enrollment of Hispanic students has grown 21 percent. As of Fall 2020, Hispanics made up 28.71 percent of WT’s overall student population, including part-time, international and graduate students.

“This continued growth reflects not only the changing demographics of the Texas Panhandle, but also the recruitment efforts put forward by WT in attracting Hispanic students to our campus,” said Angela Allen, chief office of diversity and inclusion.

“Our long-term goal, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World, calls on WT to recruit a student body that reflects the diverse population of the Texas Panhandle,” said President Walter V. Wendler. “Regional universities that act and think locally will reach globally. Diversity in the student body, faculty and staff directly supports the intellectual mission of the University by assuring that a broad and relevant set of experiences, perspectives, needs and talents are present in the academic community.”

WT’s HSI qualification was official with the awarding of a Strengthening Institutions Program grant by the Department of Education in September 2016. The $2.5 million grant has funded the Building Relationships to Bolster Retention program, which provides support coaching of first- and second-year students, including first-generation and minority student populations, by full-time Student Success Coordinators. Each of the University’s five colleges and one school have a college-specific Student Success Coordinator who can support their college's specific retention needs.

WT also offers programs, services, initiatives and organizations for underrepresented students, students of color and first-generation students, many of whom are Hispanic. Organizations include the Hispanic Student Association, which promotes on-campus awareness, offers community service projects and more; and F1RSTGEN, a student-led organization encouraging and supporting the first-generation school population. WT’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion has served students and campus personnel for about a decade. The office is in the midst of planning Hispanic Heritage Month activities for the fall.

Universities that have achieved HSI status are eligible for additional grants for faculty, researchers and students, among other benefits.

Hispanic students are among those eligible for the Board of Regents’ Scholarship fund, which targets underrepresented populations, including new freshmen or new transfer students from Texas who are minority students, first-generation students, and students from low-income families.

WT was selected as one of six minority serving institutions to participate in Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity’s (BranchED) National Teacher Preparation Transformation Center will undergo an immersion process aimed at producing highly effective and diverse teachers. Through participation in the Transformation Center, each institution’s faculty and their respective school district partners can access enhanced resources and professional development, network with others, share data and learn from each other to move forward with sustainability and innovation.


About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. With enrollment of more than 10,000, WT offers 60 undergraduate degree programs, 40 master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.