The University of Colorado Denver and Anschutz Medical Campus became the first research university in the state to attain status as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), according to an October 2021 designation by the U.S. Department of Education. To qualify for this status, a university must have undergraduate full-time enrollment that is comprised of at least 25% Hispanic students and demonstrate a high concentration of students who are eligible for Pell Grants.
Practically, this public recognition by the federal government helps to provide additional grant opportunities to further support Hispanic student services, as well as infrastructure improvements that benefit the entire university. With student success at the forefront, these grants will be put toward graduation, student retention, hiring more staff to support new and growing programs, summer education, inclusive pedagogy, and more. Faculty on both campuses are now eligible for grant opportunities that are only available to minority-serving institutions and will generally receive additional consideration when applying for other federal grants.
“Being recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution is so significant for our campus,” said CU Denver Chancellor Michelle Marks. “I am proud of the diversity of our student body and we will continue our important work on fostering an inclusive environment. This designation gives CU Denver the opportunity to give our students stronger support so they can earn their degrees and pursue meaningful careers.”
CU Denver | CU Anschutz Medical Campus became just the fourth public four-year university in the state with HSI status, joining Adams State University, Colorado State University Pueblo and Metropolitan State University of Denver. Community College of Denver is also an HSI, meaning all three institutions on the Auraria campus at the time of designation had this distinction.
“We are embarking on an audacious journey to become the nation’s first equity-serving institution and we know we have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Antonio Farias, CU Denver vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion. “Two of our guiding waypoints on this journey have been to earn recognition as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. We are honored to have received the first designation and believe we are close to earning AANAPISI status. These ambitions all align with our Strategic Plan goals to be a place where students – and the faculty and staff who educate them – thrive and find a liberating sense of belonging.”
In addition to funding, this designation will help the university create a more inclusive culture on campus. By 2050, the Latinx population in Colorado is expected to reach more than one-third of the total population and workforce. The institution is embracing the changing landscape by implementing new policies and faculty appointments focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion that create a culture of belonging.
“As someone who has long been involved in and advocating for HSI designation, I am so pleased and encouraged that we will now become eligible for funding to support our students from enrollment to graduation,” said Nolbert Chavez, chief of external initiatives and executive director of CityCenter at CU Denver, and a CU regent. “I am also excited that all three institutions of higher education on the Auraria campus are all Hispanic-serving institutions.”