Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Analysis Examines Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Eleven percent of all higher education institutions in the country were classified as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) last year. 

HSIs are defined by the federal government as having a full-time student enrollment that is at least 25 percent Hispanic. In 2012-13, there were 370 HSIs in the country. They enroll about 60 percent of all Latino undergraduate students. 

An analysis of HSIs by the advocacy group Excelencia in Education includes a full list of HSIs in addition to  277 schools defined as “emerging” HSIs, defined as having Hispanic enrollments between 15 to 24 percent Latino.

California has the most HSIs of any state at 127, and Texas is second with 68. About 85 percent of HSIs are located within just five states and Puerto Rico — California, Texas, New Mexico, Florida and New York. However, HSIs are located within states that are not predominantly Hispanic on the whole such as Kansas.

Most HSIs are two-year schools. About 48 percent are community colleges, 20 percent are public colleges and universities, and 28 percent are private four-year institutions.

HSIs tend to have looser admissions requirements. About 61 percent are open admissions, higher than the 38 percent average at all institutions.

Because they are less selective, Excelencia’s vice president for policy Deborah Santiago said they are in greater financial need.

“They have to invest additional resources for students who may not be college ready,” she told Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Not all schools with significant Latino populations are strapped for cash. The list of “emerging” HSIs includes well-regarded schools such as The University of Texas at Austin, Pepperdine University, and Stanford University.