Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Why Did a ‘Hispanic’ University Fail?

When the National Hispanic University opened in California in 1981, founder B. Roberto Cruz was frustrated about how few Latinos were enrolled in college.

NPR reports that the San Jose-based university’s mission was to create a culturally sensitive space for Latino college students in the same way that historically black colleges and universities had done for black students many years earlier.

But even as more Latino students enrolled in U.S. colleges, the university struggled. The school was bought by Laureate, a for-profit company that tried to shift the focus to online classes. Then, at the end of March, it was announced that the university would close in summer 2015.

San Jose Mercury News reporter Joe Rodriguez told NPR that the closure disappointed students who felt at home with the campus’s original mission.

“They were there for the smaller classes, the tutoring that was available to them and that very, very friendly bilingual, bicultural campus atmosphere,” he said.