TCU is limited in terms of how much money it may award students, Scott said.He said he must look at socioeconomic status and whether the student is from Texas or another state – not just if the student is a minority.
Scott said that cost is generally a top priority when choosing a school.
The office of scholarships and financial aid is trying to let prospective students know of their possibility to afford TCU before they apply, he said.
“A lot of the battle we fight is people not knowing what is out there,” Scott said. “I’ve kind of neutralized the cost issue by scholarships, but the university still has to provide other services. There’s more to it than just money. There are other things students look for… Just by offering more money doesn’t make students magically appear,” he said.
Mike Katovich, a professor of sociology, said cost poses a dilemma for all private universities that want to be an option for students, regardless of their class background.
Katovich said it becomes a question of, “How can they accommodate people who might be qualified to come here, but not able to afford it?’
“A sociologist would point out that the goal for diversity has a subtext: We’re going to be diverse within the limits of a private university,” he said.
These limits could evolve regardless of the goal of admissions, faculty and staff, he said.
“The idea of being a private school in the Southwest might have an intimidating presence to it,” Katovich said.
The TCU Experience
Katovich’s theory might not be far off.
Until 1999, TCU had a reputation for not being welcoming to minority student populations, Brown said.
“If you’re not strong in your backyard, you’re not strong anywhere,” Brown said. “We weren’t strong in our own backyard.”
He said he also attributes this to TCU’s 100-year history of being a predominantly white university.
TCU’s minority student enrollment percentages are lower than that of SMU and Baylor University.
SMU had a 21.5 percent minority student enrollment for fall 2004. Baylor University had a 25-percent minority student enrollment for fall 2004. TCU, by comparison, had a 14-percent minority student enrollment , according to the TCU Fact Book Fall 2004 Quick Facts.
A number of programs have been implemented to improve TCU’s diversity.
Community Scholars is one such program. For six years, TCU has worked with area high schools to recruit students at the local level. Base award scholarships cover approximately 60 percent of tuition, room and board.
Another program, the student-led Inclusiveness Task Force, works to educate students, staff and faculty in diversity and inclusiveness.
Emily Dunn, Inclusiveness Task Force president, said she predicts TCU’s diversity will increase and that people’s mindsets will change.
Turner said he thinks the diversity has already started to improve.
Some students Turner has talked with would like to see the diversity grow quicker than it has, he said.
Ramirez is one such student. She said she does not think the diversity at TCU is improving.
The rising tuition is not helping TCU’s diversity, she said.
“Nobody wants to be in debt, no matter how much education is worth,” she said.