Study: Hispanic-Serving Colleges Continue Steady Increase

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by Charles Dervarics

The number of Hispanic-serving institutions, or HSIs, nationwide has increased by 24 percent since 2004 and could grow by another 40 percent if “emerging” HSIs in 18 states and Puerto Rico continue to grow, a new study says.

The data from Washington, D.C.-based Excelencia in Education found 293 nonprofit higher education institutions in 2010 with 25 percent or more total undergraduate Hispanic enrollment, qualifying them as HSIs. Another 204 higher education institutions are “emerging HSIs,” with undergraduate Hispanic enrollment that soon may reach the 25 percent threshold.

“We know how close we are to attaining even greater numbers of HSIs,” Deborah Santiago, Excelencia in Education’s vice president of policy and research, told Diverse. Colleges with 25 percent enrollment are eligible for federal funding specifically dedicated to HSIs.

The analysis also highlights the changing landscape of HSIs, as states not normally associated with large Hispanic populations are entering the ranks of HSIs and “emerging” institutions. While Texas and California have the most Hispanic-serving institutions, the list of current HSIs includes 13 in Illinois, four in Kansas and three in Washington State.

“There is increased growth in states where you don’t expect to see HSIs,” Santiago said. “This is a pleasant surprise.”

This trend is likely to continue based on the list of “emerging” HSIs, or those with Hispanic enrollments of 15 percent to 24 percent. Massachusetts has nine emerging HSIs, while Connecticut and Colorado have five and four such institutions, respectively. Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Louisiana are among those states with at least one emerging HSI.

Lower-cost two-year colleges account for many of the institutions on both lists. Among current HSIs, 47 percent are community colleges while only 28 percent are private, nonprofit four-year colleges.

Santiago told Diverse the data indicate a need to focus on Latino graduation at two-year institutions. “The two-year sector needs to get a better sense of what’s working for Latino students. We need to do a better job of graduating these students from two-year institutions and moving them on to four-year colleges and universities.”

Here are other findings from the study:

n  While current HSIs account for less than 10 percent of all colleges nationwide, they enroll more than half — or 54 percent — of Latinos in higher education.

n  Among current HSIs, 112, or nearly 40 percent, offer graduate degrees.

n  Despite nationwide growth, almost 75 percent of HSIs are concentrated in Puerto Rico and three states — California, Texas and New Mexico.

n  New York, New Jersey and Florida account for 53 of the “emerging” Hispanic-serving institutions, or more than 25 percent of the list.

 

For more information on the study, visit the organization’s website at www.EdExcelencia.org.

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