Briefing to Explore Impact of Hispanic-Serving Institutions on Latino Student Success in California, Nation

Jessica Wong

The leaders of two of the three California public higher learning systems will be joined CSUN President Erika D. Beck and Excelencia in Education to discuss the impact of HSIs of higher education have had on Latina/o student success during a virtual gathering on March 2. Image by Kate Llave. […]

The leaders of two of the three California public higher learning systems will be joined CSUN President Erika D. Beck and Excelencia in Education to discuss the impact of HSIs of higher education have had on Latina/o student success during a virtual gathering on March 2. Image by Kate Llave.


What impact have Hispanic-serving institutions  (HSIs) of higher education had on Latina/o  student success in California and across the nation? That question and others will be explored on Tuesday, March 2 during a virtual gathering that includes the leaders of two of the three California public higher learning systems.

The “California Briefing on 25 Years of HSIs in Accelerating Latinx Student Success” is free and open to the public. It is being hosted by the nonprofit advocacy group Excelencia in Education, California State University, California Community Colleges and California State University, Northridge.

“Closing equity gaps in degree attainment requires investing in the institutions enrolling and graduating Latino students in our states and across the country,” said Deborah Santiago, Excelencia’s CEO. “Learning what these institutions are doing to intentionally serve Latino students and accelerating their impact is critical at the state and federal levels.”

Excelencia in Education found that nationally HSIs represent less than 20 percent of all colleges and universities, yet enroll more than 65 percent of all Latinas/os. California is home to the most HSIs in the country, with 176, that represent almost 50 percent of all institutions. The state’s HSIs enroll almost 90 percent of Latina/o undergraduates and almost 80 percent of all undergraduates. A breakdown of the impact of HSIs on education in California can be found in the online report from Excelencia.

“Good ideas need solid support,” said Sarita Brown, Excelencia’s president. “We thank CSU Chancellor Castro, CSUN President Beck and California Community College Chancellor Oakley for making common cause with Excelencia, and for the leadership investment in this important research that informs the nation as we navigate current challenges and set the course for the future.”

The California event is part of a series of briefings Excelencia in Education is hosting across the country to explore the impact 25 years of Hispanic-serving institutions have had on the nation’s Latina/o students. The California briefing will include discussions about intentionality for Latina/o student success; higher education’s role and responsibility to Latina/o student success; and how those who work in higher education can rise to “meet the moment.” U.S. Senator Alex Padilla will also extend his support via special remarks as part of the program. To learn more about the California briefing and to register to attend the virtual event, visit its website.

“With 21 of 23 California State University campuses earning HSI designation, the CSU is immensely proud to serve as a leader in improving both access and success for Latino students,” said CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro, who will be taking part in a panel discussion on higher education’s role and responsibility when it comes to Latino student success. “Excelencia in Education has highlighted many of the best practices across the university to shine a light on how we can do even more to serve this population of students who are so important to the future of California and the nation.”

Hispanic-serving institutions are defined under the Higher Education Act as colleges or universities where at least 25 percent of the undergraduate, full-time enrollment is Hispanic, and at least half of the institution’s degree-seeking students must be low-income. The designation allows HSIs to compete for federal funding to expand and enhance educational opportunities for their students, including those of Hispanic descent.

Ranked fourth nationally for improving the social mobility of its students and alumni, more than half of CSUN’s undergraduates are Latina/o. CSUN leads the state, and is fourth nationally, in baccalaureate degree attainment for Latina/o students. The university is home to numerous programs funded through HSI-specific grant programs that contribute to student success.

“Across the university, we are committed to opening doors to opportunity and empowering our students to realize their dreams. This necessitates equitable structures and culturally relevant pedagogy,” said CSUN President Erika D. Beck, who will speak about intentionality for Latinx student success at the briefing. “There is no doubt that CSUN’s status as an HSI has created tremendous benefits for our students, our faculty and staff to realize our mission. It’s incumbent upon all of us to lead on this, and the state’s economic success depends on it too.”

More than half of all California HSIs are community colleges, including three of the top five degree- and certificate-granting HSIs in the state.

“The California Community Colleges is proud to support this important research to better understand Latino student success,” said Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley, who will be joining Castro on the panel discussing higher education’s role and responsibility when it comes to Latino student success. “More than 40% of our student population is Latino, and our system is laser-focused on bold goals to improve student outcomes as part of the Vision for Success.”

The program will also feature a conversation with The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green and Peter Taylor, CSU Trustee and President of the ECMC Foundation, highlighting the economic and social imperative for business and industry leaders to champion these vital efforts.

Excelencia in Education accelerates Latina/o student success in higher education by promoting Latino student achievement, conducting analysis to inform educational policies, and advancing institutional practices while collaborating with those committed and ready to meet the mission. Launched in 2004 in the nation’s capital, Excelencia has established a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address the U.S. economy’s needs for a highly educated workforce and engaged civic leaders. For more information, visit: http://www.EdExcelencia.org.

Alex Padilla, California Briefing on 25 Years of HSIs in Accelerating Latinx Student Success, California Community Colleges, California State University, CCC Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley, CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro, Deborah Santiago, Erika D. Beck, Excelencia in Education, Featured, HSIs, Sarita Brown


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