Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Education > Study on Hispanic-serving Institutions finds that after community college more Latino students attend private colleges

Study on Hispanic-serving Institutions finds that after community college more Latino students attend private colleges

LatinaLista — Know what a HSI is?

HSI is the acronym for those colleges and universities that are deemed Hispanic Serving Institutions. It means that 25% or more of their full-time undergraduate students are Latino.


The invention of Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs) in the 1980s was grounded in the theory that institutions enrolling a large concentration of Latino students would adapt their institutional practices to serve these students better.

Specifically, critical mass theory suggests once a definable group reaches a certain size within an organization, group interactions transform the organization’s culture.

In light of the growth of the Latino student population and the dismal rates of college completion, Excelencia in Education has released an analysis of where the next HSIs are expected to be, given that these institutions are fast approaching the 25% Latino student body rate.

According to the study,

Emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs): Serving Latino Students :

In 2006-07, there were 176 Emerging HSIs–institutions with Hispanic undergraduate full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment between 15 and 24 percent.

Emerging HSIs were located in 20 states, with the highest concentrations in California (52) and Texas (42). There are also Emerging HSIs in states less recognized for their Latino population, such as Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Oregon, and Utah.

The majority of Emerging HSIs were community colleges (44 percent); private colleges and universities represented 36 percent and public colleges and universities represented 20 percent of Emerging HSIs.

Of the undergraduate FTE (full-time equivalent enrollment) students enrolled at Emerging HSIs, 19 percent were Hispanic.

It’s interesting to note that while the majority of Latino students are found at the community college level, the next highest number are found at private colleges and universities rather than public.

The difference could be that private colleges are better at recruiting Latino students than public colleges but is it because they want Latino students to succeed or they want the money that comes with Latino enrollment?

The study further found that:

While over 50 percent of Emerging HSIs reported specific practices related to the recruitment of Latino students, just over one-third stated their institution had academic programs or support services specifically focused on Latino students.

Programs and support services make a big difference as to whether or not Latino students succeed in higher ed.

And if more succeed, the hope is that more will go.

Related posts


  • Miguel A. Corona
    February 5, 2010 at 6:13 am

    Marisa – Thanks for your post. I was looking forward to the results of this study that was announced a few weeks ago. Sarita Brown is a great researcher and she definitely provides some excellent data here. While HSI’s only constitute 10% of all colleges in the country, the fact that they serve a large majority of the Hispanic college population is indicative of resource strain they are challenged with. Hopefully emerging HSIs will have better luck with funding. Thanks again for the excellent post.

  • Michelle
    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    FYI – Although Sarita Brown is the president of Excelencia, the author of this brief as well as of all of Excelencia’s brief is actually Deborah Santiago, Excelenicia’s Vice President for Policy and Research.

Leave a comment