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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities welcomes URI as first Rhode Island member

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 21, 2006 -- The University of Rhode Island has become the first and only institution in Rhode Island and the only New England Land Grant university to join the non-profit Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. This step by the University is expected to benefit and create new opportunities for Hispanic students on campus.

According to Robert E. Gillis, director of affirmative action at the University, there is a need for more minority students to enroll in higher education. University membership in the association will help reduce barriers to Hispanic success. Member services include advocacy, institutional capacity building, faculty and staff development, student services, and the building of strategic alliances.

URI enrolls 563 Hispanic students, or 3.7 percent of its total enrollment—15,095 students. There are 15 Hispanic faculty members, or 2.2 percent of the total number of 691.

The association has been instrumental in getting Congress to appropriate increased funding for Hispanic-serving institutions. Title V funding has increased from $12 million in 1995 to $95 million in 2005, due to the Association’s persistent advocacy. There is also a legislative agenda that addresses Hispanic education needs across K-20 and beyond.

The University will also benefit from membership in the association, ultimately gaining a reputation as a “true advocate (on the national level) for Hispanic students,” according to Gillis.

Other benefits of membership include increased opportunities for grants, additional grant monies that pertain to Hispanic issues, a variety of internships for Hispanic students, as well as national coverage and exposure that will present URI as an institution committed to the success of Hispanic students.

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities has a membership of 450 universities and colleges in 35 states, Puerto Rico, and Spain as well as eight countries in Latin America, which are committed to success for Hispanics in higher education. The Association is the only national association that speaks for institutions serving Hispanics while at the same time giving a voice to Hispanic education-focused groups around the globe.