The University of Iowa is running a 30-second ad on a Spanish-language cable T.V. channel. 

The ads are running this month on Mediacom cable systems in the state that carry the Unision channel. According to a statement from university officials, the 30-second spots on Univision are aimed at “the state’s growing population of Hispanic high school students and their families.” 

John Laverty is associate director of Admissions for the University of Iowa. “It’s important for us to reach out to those families,” he says.  “Many of them are first generation college students. Their families, their parents, did not go to college so just to make them aware that the University of Iowa is there for them we think is important.” 

Laverty says Spanish-speaking Latinos represent the fastest-growing segment of K-through-12 students in Iowa. “The overall high school population has been shrinking and yet we do have this growth in our Latino populations,” Laverty says.  “And it’s been a trend that those of us in higher education and admissions have been watching, especially over the last few years.” 

About 3.2 percent of the students at the University of Iowa are Latino or Hispanic.

The university’s outreach effort to Iowa Latinos comes as the education of the children of illegal immigrants has become a campaign issue in the race for governor. Republican gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad says he’d like to see a reversal of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has require states to provide a public education to the children of illegal immigrants. Governor Chet Culver, a Democrat, has said it’s wrong to punish children who had no choice in their parent’s decision to live in the country illegally.