The Hispanic population is the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the United States. However, only 12 percent of adult Hispanics have a bachelor’s degree, and only three percent have completed a graduate or professional degree program.
President Barack Obama has implemented a 16-member White House Advisory Commission on Hispanic Education to help increase those numbers; one of those seat holders is UTSA’s President Dr. Ricardo Romo.
Earlier this year, Romo traveled to Washington, D.C. for the commission’s inaugural meeting and swearing in.
“There are tremendous challenges and opportunities right now in the area of education throughout the whole country in every field, for everybody,” Romo said. “The one area that we seem to just not have made a lot of progress in the past decade has been for college.”
Affordability is another major hindrance on Hispanic households trying to send their children to college, and that’s why “in terms of our campus one of our big priorities was to get the Texas grants for our students. Because so many students depend of those grants” Romo said.
In helping more Hispanics enter universities, the commission will also be helping make Hispanics more desirable in the work field. “In today’s world college is essential to getting a good paying job” Romo said.
And the goals don’t end with a four year degree; the commission will work to increase the percentages of Hispanics gaining a graduate or a professional level degree “the master’s degree is the new bachelor’s” Romo said.
Through his career Romo has worn many different hats, and in 2002 President Bush appointed Romo to the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
In 2004, Romo was appointed as a U.S. representative to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization and in 2008, he was 23-member commission that will explore the potential of creating a national museum dedicated to American Latinos.
The commission will be responsible for developing educational programs and initiatives to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for Hispanics of all age, and will also be increasing the participation of the Hispanic community in education programs.
“Our goals are to figure out strategies for encouraging more participation in college, a lot of that is going to have to involve parents, we will need them to encourage their kids to be thinking about college,” Romo said. “It will also involve working with schools that need to be preparing young people for