UCF is ranked the No. 5 university in the nation for granting bachelor’s degrees to Hispanics and 22nd for master’s degrees, according to Hispanic Outlook on Education Magazine, which released a list today of top-performing educational institutions.
UCF also was ranked 8th in total enrollment of Hispanic students at four-year schools in the magazine’s 2019 list of the Top 100 Colleges and Universities for Hispanics.
In 2018-19, UCF awarded 3,640 bachelor’s degrees and 412 master’s degrees to Hispanic students. So far in 2019-20 there have been 3,907 bachelor’s and 498 master’s.
The university’s current Hispanic enrollment is 19,868 students.
“The rankings show the promise of a bright future that a UCF education has for students, especially Hispanic students matriculating through our degree programs,” says S. Kent Butler, interim chief Equity, Inclusion and Diversity officer. “It lets students seeking an education in a welcoming culturally rich environment find just that here at UCF.”
UCF’s growing Latino student population is a reflection of the growing Latino community in the region.
UCF’s growing Latino student population is a reflection of the growing Latino community in the region, says Cyndia Morales Muñiz ’13EdD, director of the Hispanic Serving Institution Culture and Partnerships.
“At UCF, we acknowledge the cultural wealth our Latino students lean into when working towards their academic goals,” she says. “Our placement with regard to enrollment and completion also has to do with the talent and determination of the Latino community, and our programs and services complement those strengths.”
Nine different UCF degrees also were ranked in the top 10 of their fields for Hispanic students:
- 4th – visual and performing arts degrees
- 6th – business management marketing degrees, computer and information sciences and support services degrees, and engineering degrees
- 9th – English language and literature/letters degrees
- 10th – communication journalism and related programs degrees, education degrees, health professions and related programs degrees, and legal professions and studies degrees.
“Our Hispanic/Latino student population is thriving because we take pride in them and all students,” Butler says. “We provide each student with diverse educational experiences in and out of the classroom that challenge them to expand their minds and set no limits upon the things they can and will accomplish in their lives.”
Muñiz says UCF’s demographic trends “have inspired us to implement more culturally responsive programs that resonate with and better serve Latino students.”
As a result, UCF has more than 20 Latinx-centered cultural, professional and Greek-lettered student organizations; for the past two years has served as the host location for the Latinos in Action conference for about 1,000 Latino middle and high school students to help inspire and educate about the educational opportunities available to them; and promotes the ¡Vamos Knights! brand to serve as a visual cue that the university is proud to be a Hispanic Serving Institution.
In 2019, the U.S. Department of Education designated the university a Hispanic Serving Institution after having exceeded a 25 percent enrollment of Hispanic undergraduate students.
As part of the HSI designation, the National Science Foundation in April awarded UCF a grant of more than $1.8 million through its Improving Undergraduate STEM Education HSI program to support the success of Latino and other underrepresented students pursuing a major in STEM fields. This is the first HSI grant of its kind that UCF was awarded to improve student learning.
UCF also was named among the 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award recipients by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, which recognized 90 U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. This is the sixth year UCF has been a recipient.
Additionally, UCF’s Puerto Rican Educational Relief Initiative dates to September 2017, when the Board of Trustees approved in-state tuition eligibility through spring 2018 for Puerto Rican and U.S. Virgin Island students affected by Hurricane Maria. The board extended in-state tuition for the academic year, and then approved it through summer 2023. To qualify for instate tuition, those students must have already been enrolled at UCF or another Florida institution by spring 2019.
“UCF has a myriad of opportunities for students, and students graduate with the skills and expertise needed in the advancing society,” Butler says. “The rankings also show that UCF competes with the best of the best in providing a solid education to students that translate into promising careers.”