The number of colleges where Latinos make up at least a quarter of the student body has more than doubled over the past two decades.
A full 13 percent of higher-education institutions, or 435 schools, now qualify as Hispanic-serving institutions, according to a new analysis by Excelencia in Education, an education-advocacy group based in Washington.
HSIs are accredited and degree-granting public or private nonprofit schools where at least 25 percent of full-time equivalent undergraduate students are Latino. The distinction brings with it federal dollars, an important factor since HSIs often work with fewer resources than more affluent universities, but serve a considerably higher number of first-generation, low-income students who, studies suggest, benefit from additional academic support and mentoring.
“The success of HSIs in enrolling and graduating Latinos is critical given our youth and growth as a population representing the future of our national workforce and country,” said Deborah A. Santiago, COO and vice president at Policy of Excelencia in Education.
While historically black colleges and universities such as Howard University were established specifically to serve black students, HSIs continue to emerge as the number of Latino students pursuing a degree rises.
These schools are concentrated at the moment in a handful of states—California, Texas, Florida, New Mexico, New York—and Puerto Rico, but they have also emerged in places like Nevada and Kansas in recent years. More than 300 colleges in 33 states and the District of Columbia are considered emerging HSIs, according to the analysis, meaning Latinos make up 15 to 24 percent of the student population.