Intentionally Hispanic-Serving Institutions Foster Students’ Well-Being

There are currently 492 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in the United States—up from 189 just over two decades ago—which collectively comprise 15 percent of American colleges and universities and enroll 65 percent of Hispanic students. While Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have an explicit mission to serve African American students, a college or university becomes an HSI when it reaches a Hispanic enrollment of 25 percent full-time equivalent (FTE). This means that although they are often lumped together as a single group, some HSIs are doing deliberate work to support their Hispanic populations while other HSIs may be “serving” Hispanic students in name only.

The Excelencia in Action network includes 85 colleges and universities, 34 of which are HSIs, who are actively working to improve the success of their Hispanic students.

Gallup and Excelencia in Education recently released a survey report which examines outcomes for graduates (Hispanic and non-Hispanic) from a subset of these HSI Excelencia network schools compared to all college graduates nationally and to graduates of other HSIs.

A few key findings:

    • Excelencia network graduates were more likely than both the group of all graduates nationally and their peers at other HSIs to feel that they had purpose, social, and community well-being, and more likely than the group of all graduates nationally to feel that they were thriving financially.
    • Graduates of Excelencia network schools and other HSIs were less likely to have held a job or internship that allowed them to apply what they were learning during their college experience.
    • Perhaps as a result, 23 percent of Excelencia network and other-HSI graduates had jobs waiting for them upon graduation, versus 29 percent of all graduates nationally.
    • However, graduates of Excelencia network institutions or other HSIs were more likely to feel fulfilled at work than the group of all graduates nationally.

A few takeaways from these data that everyone in higher education, HSI or not, should consider:

1.  All HSIs (and other minority-serving institutions) should be deliberate and explicit about their support for underserved students, particularly their students of color.

2.  HSIs need to develop partnerships with employers to increase opportunities for students to incorporate their learning into their work. This includes ensuring that wages and/or scholarships are provided for students in these programs, so they can afford to experience high-quality work-based learning rather than working irrelevant but paying jobs.

3.  All colleges and universities, HSI or not, should take purposeful steps to support their Hispanic students on the path to graduation. Only 23% of Hispanic people over the age of 25 have an associate’s degree or higher, versus 44% of all adults.

Explore the full report and fact sheets to learn more.

To continue the conversation on Latino students and the workforce, consider attending Excelencia in Education’s annual Accelerating Latino Student Success (ALASS) Institute on October 12 in Washington, D.C. This year, ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning Vice President Greg Ratliff will speak at the session, “Latino Student Success and the Workforce.” The session will examine the transition from college to work for recent Latino college graduates and explore student perceptions and institutional practices. Other session speakers are: Carine Feyten, chancellor and president, Texas Woman’s University; and Stephanie Marken, executive director, Gallup Higher Education Research. Kiko Suarez, chief community impact officer, United Way of Central Indiana and Excelencia in Education Board of Directors member, will serve as moderator. Be sure to register for the ALASS Institute today!