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HSI: Our Path Ahead

Three unc students in front of UNC campus commons

June 27, 2023

For UNC, the road to a Federal Hispanic Serving Institution designation has been steady and progressive.

In 2008, our enrollment of Hispanic/Latinx-identifying students was a mere 8.5%. Today, 15 years later, UNC finds itself at 25.5%, with a solid projection above 25% for this Fall of 2023.

In the mid-2000s, the Hispanic/Latinx community in Colorado grew dramatically. Greeley, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs continue to have the fastest growing Hispanic/Latinx populations in the state. During the last decade, the United States increased by 23%.

As a university in an increasingly diverse state, UNC began intentionally increasing resources to serve as a welcoming institution for all who enter our doors, and particularly for the Latinx population, which is becoming a larger portion of our student body. Acknowledging this rising demography, UNC launched a intentional effort to grow our Latina/o student population through varied outreach to families, high schools, churches, and community organizations.

  • Admissions staff were hired to reflect the student population UNC hoped to recruit.
  • We initiated bilingual and bicultural admissions outreach efforts.
  • UNC established new ways of supporting the academic and co-curricular success of Hispanic/Latinx students on our campus.

In 2019, President Feinstein was direct, resolute, and determined to see UNC become an HSI as well as ‘the school of choice’ for Latinx-identifying students in our state.

Since the fall of 2020, UNC began the targeted work toward becoming an HSI. Starting the conversation on what it might take for us to become an HSI, and developing the policies, structures, and culturally responsive practices that intentionally increase students' educational attainment, career, and social mobility; consciously working to provide our students with an experience that facilitates their graduation to help them effectively launch their careers.

The dedication and commitment of leadership matters; and without the support from the President and our Board of Trustees, parallel with the sense of urgency, this designation would not succeed.

For the 2023-24 academic year, UNC’s HSI leadership is prioritizing:

  1. The recruitment and enrollment of Hispanic/Latinx-identifying students to help us grow this percentage of students on our campus, and.
  2. The retention and graduation of Hispanic/Latinx-identifying students to address the 11% achievement gap in graduation rates between UNC’s Hispanic student population and their White counterparts.

An HSI designation is finally in our sights, but we must be prepared to continue to review and adjust institutional policies and practices that limit the opportunities and success of our Hispanic and Latinx-identifying students, and devise practices that we as faculty and staff can implement to increase ways in which we serve (servingness) across our campus.

Join us as we help UNC become Colorado’s Next Hispanic Serving Institution

Get Involved:

This work includes all of us! UNC leadership, faculty, staff, fellow students, alumni, our local community, and statewide partners can all participate in this work.

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