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 of fostering an inclusive campus. This designation aligns with our 2030 Strategic Plan to become an equity-serving institution that provides a racially and culturally enhancing educational and work environment and a sense of belonging for all. 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 | Anschutz Medical Campus became 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.
“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. “It’s yet another step on our journey to becoming the nation’s first equity-serving institution and intentionally building a culture of shared responsibility for advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion so that students, faculty, and staff thrive.”
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.
“This designation is a point of pride for our campus, and important recognition of our commitment to educating a diverse student body of future leaders in medicine and health,” said Donald M. Elliman, Jr., chancellor of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. “We are dedicated to building a workforce that represents the communities we serve, and becoming one of the few medical campuses in the country to receive this designation further advances this mission.”