Montclair State University now has a record for the largest number of students identifying as Hispanics this semester.
Montclair State welcomed an immense freshman class, having 4,186 students on campus on the first day of classes.
Half of the freshman student body identified as a minority group with 45% identifying as Hispanics. The numbers show the increase in the Hispanic population since last year.
Montclair State, a Hispanic Serving Institution freshman’s class of last year comprised 4,065 students and 41% identified as Hispanic.
According to the Department of Education, a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) is any institution that has an enrollment of undergraduate full-time students that is at least 25% Hispanic. Overall showing within a year a difference of 121 more students than last year; an increase of 4% of Hispanic students within a year.
Dr. Katia Paz Goldfarb is the associate provost for Hispanic Initiatives. She said despite the increase there is still more to be done for these students.
“The change is not complete,” Goldfarb said. “As an institution, let’s pay attention to why they are coming. Now, it’s how do we keep them here.”
The numbers are increasing and making it easier to be a Hispanic student at Montclair State.
“A lot of the families in our community see education as a social mobility issue and being part of society,” Goldfarb said.
Being a first-generation college student is one of the struggles of being a Hispanic student. Sofia Diaz, a freshman business administration major, who is from Cuba, feels this way.
“I feel that it is very important that Hispanic students get the knowledge and education their parents couldn’t have access to,” Diaz said.
Students are looking forward to coming to a university with diversity to feel welcomed. Deborah Pereyra is a freshman theatre and acting major who is from Uruguay.
“Where I grew up, there was a large Hispanic demographic so coming to a school with a lot of Hispanic students is really comforting,” Pereyra said.
The percentage of Hispanic students shows the change and passion a community wants for higher education. This change made it possible for the incoming students to feel comfortable and seen as a community. The increase of the community is inevitable every year as the percentage increases.
Kylie Reyes is a sophomore business administration. She is Mexican and Colombian and is proud of being part of the change.
“I saw a lot of improvement throughout the year,” Reyes said. “I feel like there is a lot of diversity now as to why I am here. There is always that negative thought of Hispanics. Here [at] Montclair [State] I enjoy [the community] and I am proud to be Hispanic.”