By Gina Jacobs
San Diego State University has been designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education. The national designation provides access to federal grants and scholarships to colleges and universities that serve a high population of Hispanic students.
SDSU becomes only the third public research university in California (among Carnegie classified universities) to also receive HSI designation and one of approximately 300 nationally.
As a university, we are committed to seeing that students from all backgrounds succeed.
A school must have a Hispanic population of at least 25 percent to qualify for the designation. More than 28 percent of SDSU’s undergraduate students are Hispanic.
“Becoming an HSI is an important step for SDSU and will provide additional opportunities for all of our students, including our large Hispanic population,” said SDSU President Elliot Hirshman. “We are very proud to serve such a diverse group of students, which enriches our campus both academically and socially.”
In addition to serving a diverse student body, SDSU has seen growth in continuation and graduation rates among this population as well.
For students of color, 87.4 percent of freshmen who enrolled in fall 2010 are enrolled in their second year this fall, up from 81.5 percent the previous year. Graduation rates among SDSU’s students of color, including Hispanics, continue to improve as well.
SDSU had the largest improvement in graduation rates in the nation in the most recent six-year period, improving from 44 percent in 2003 to 61 percent in 2008. SDSU’s current six-year graduation rate is 65.7 percent and 61.3 percent for students of color, virtually closing the achievement gap.
“As a university, we are committed to seeing that students from all backgrounds succeed,” said Hirshman.
Providing new opportunities
For fiscal year 2011, the appropriation for the HSI Program (Title V, Part A) was more than $104 million.
The HSI Program provides grants to assist HSIs to expand educational opportunities for and improve the attainment of Hispanic students. The HSI Program grants also enable HSIs to enhance their academic offerings, program quality, and institutional stability.
As a result of receiving this designation, SDSU is also eligible for a waiver of the non-Federal share matching requirements under the Federal Work Study Program and other structural grants. Additionally, other federal agencies set aside funds to support HSIs including the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development and the National Endowment for the Humanities.