Student diversity climbing


    Freshman minority enrollment has hit a record high this semester at 15.5 percent. University officials attribute the increase to the success of several new programs designed to attract students who are financially disadvantaged, such as the Community Scholars Program.The program, which began in 2000 as an integration into local area high schools, was designed for disadvantaged students who are first-generation Americans or college students.

    “The Community Scholars Program is the jewel in the diversity crown here at TCU,” said Ray Brown, dean of admissions.

    In addition to this program, TCU also conducts three summer programs for prospective minority students: Absolute Xcellence, Camp College and the National Hispanic Institution.

    To implement these programs, Brown said his philosophy to high schools was, “Give us your best and brightest, and we’ll take care of them.”

    Brown said 10 students received full scholarships in 2000, but with the growing number of applicants, TCU has lowered the amount of the scholarships in order to spread out the funds to more students.

    Some students say they have noticed a larger presence of minorities on campus.

    Freshman speech pathology major Kaci Looper said, “I have a lot of people in my classes who are all different races. It’s not the typical stereotype that most people have of TCU.”

    Brown said the last few years have shown increased progress to attract a more racially diverse student body.

    “This is an institution that historically has not been considered welcoming to students of color,” Brown said. “But now, some of the initiatives are finally coming together.”

    Darron Turner, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, said he thinks there is more progress to be made.

    “I think we’re doing a good job (promoting diversity), but there’s still room to improve; there’s room to grow,” Turner said.

    The increase in minority students has also reached outside the U.S. borders to other countries, due in part to intensive networking, said Director of International Admission Karen Scott. This semester had the highest admission of undergraduate international students at 5.4 percent, a 1 percent increase since 2003.

    Scott credits the increase of students to the department’s close contacts and relations with overseas advisers, and from buying more student names from different international agencies. These names are used to send information to prospective international students.

    “We have kept in better touch with overseas advisers, something we continue to focus on,” Scott said.

    There was a decrease in international and Intensive English students enrolling at TCU after Sept. 11, Scott said. In the fall of 2001, 5.2 percent of students were international. The next two years saw a steady decline.

    “In fact, many Intensive English programs in the U.S. have closed in the past few years,” Scott said.

    She also said she would like to continue adding more ethnic and cultural backgrounds as the enrollment number climbs once again.

    “I would like (the program) to branch out into more regions like Asia and the Middle East,” Scott said. “We would like to become more diverse within the international countries.”

    Scott said she thinks the international program is beneficial and enriching for the TCU community.

    “If you look at the mission statement, we’re trying to make this a more global community,” Scott said. “(International students) bring interesting dimensions and viewpoints.