Spanish-speaking prospective Cal Poly students can now access information and get answers to questions online.

“Respuestas EMT” allows prospective students to type in questions in Spanish on the online server and receive answer posts in Spanish.

The service received over 200 questions on the first day, according to James Maraviglia, assistant vice president for admissions, recruitment and financial aid at Cal Poly.

What is the most common question? “How do I apply?” Maraviglia said. After students find out how to apply, they then ask questions about how to apply for housing and financial aid, he added.

The online response service has been available in English since 2001. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities funded the new edition to the program in Spanish.

General e-mails, such as those sent to tell conditionally admitted students about their acceptance to the university are still only sent in English.

The new online program does not interfere with Proposition 209, which prohibits a university from recruiting students based on race, Maraviglia said.

Hispanics represent the largest growing section of California’s population. Hispanic students currently make up about 6.5 percent of Cal Poly’s eligible student pool, according to the 2003 University Eligibility Study from the California Postsecondary Education Commission.

That number is an increase over the 3.8 percent of Hispanic student representation of eligible student percentages in 1996. However, that is only a fraction of the eligibility percentages held by Asian and Caucasian high school graduates.

“They definitely should expand the program,” said Cristina Garcia, a social science and psychology junior, who sees potential in the bilingual server. “Just so that students can explain it (college life) to their parents.”

Garcia was born in Mexico and represents the first generation in her family to attend college.

“I try to keep my parents as updated as I can. Just being able to show them where I am helps,” she said.

To try out the interactive Web site, visit http://images.academicengine.com/VAImages/calpoly/calpolymiddle.htm.

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