What is an HSI?

An HSI is dedicated to the higher education of Hispanic and Latino students in the US.

Flickr user Ray Bouknight

You may have seen the term “HSI” pop up during your college searches. HSI stands for Hispanic-Serving Institution. Like an HBCU (Historically Black College/University), HSIs dedicate themselves to the higher education of Hispanic and Latino students within the United States of America.

What an HSI strives for

The goal of these institutions is to increase the aid, support, and access to quality higher education for students of Hispanic descent—particularly first-generation and low-income students. However, HSIs open their doors to students of all ethnicities.

About HSI’s in the US

Over 250 HSI-classified colleges exist in America. In order to qualify as an HSI and receive federal funding from the Department of Education, the school must follow the following criteria:

  • Be a not-for-profit college/university
  • Must offer at least a 2-year degree-earning program
  • Be an accredited college/university
  • Have a high enrollment percentage of students with high financial need
  • 25% of its full-time undergraduate student body must be Hispanic

HSIs tend to have higher retention rates of Hispanic students than other, non-HSI institutions. Also, like HBCUs, HSIs are known to make significant contributions to STEM fields.

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