Latino students comprise 35% of Woodbury University’s enrollment. In the School of Architecture, however, Hispanic enrollment is greater than 40%, in part because the program’s mission, curricular focus and support systems are matched to the needs of the Latino population. Woodbury Architecture does not require a portfolio for entrance, a rarity among National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)-accredited programs. As schools in low-income communities seldom can afford art or design programs that result in portfolios, Woodbury's Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) program targets students who display passion for the discipline and habits of hard work. The program actively encourages students to express their identities and value their heritage through the practice of architecture.
Consistent with the Woodbury University's mission, the School of Architecture is committed to the training and education of innovative design professionals. The curriculum prepares students to balance the need to work competitively in the marketplace with the equally important concerns of ethical conduct and social responsibility. Woodbury's BArch develops the voices of the students it serves and fosters respect for their natural, social and cultural environments.
In the past five years, the number of Latino students in BArch has grown steadily from 127 to 203 in academic year 2007. In the same period, the number of undergraduate architecture students has grown from 323 to 487. The percentage of Latino architecture students has grown from 39% to 42% of the total. First-year retention rates for Latinos in BArch, a five-year program, surpass the university average for a total of 80% compared to76% for all students. The university does not have disaggregated data on graduation for architecture, but graduation rates reported by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) indicate Latinos at Woodbury graduate at a higher rate than the general student population.
The number of Latinos finishing their degrees has risen nearly 90% since 2003, going from 18% of the graduating class that year to 34% in 2007. This is due in part to the advising, mentoring, and academic support programs that were developed for Latino students as part of a Title V grant. Many of these students came from low-income households and were the first in their families to attend college. The majority of them required remedial courses in English and math on entrance. Recent Latino architecture graduates have gained admission to a number of prestigious graduate schools.