University of Colorado Denver Invests $4 Million for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Efforts

The money will go toward investments to aid CU Denver in becoming an equity-serving institution

April 20, 2021

At last week’s Equity Task Force webinar, Chancellor Michelle Marks announced that CU Denver would invest $4 million to support the university’s work in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). With this money, CU Denver leadership plans to support its initiatives set forward by the university’s equity task force to become an equity-serving institution. CU Denver will earmark $1 million of campus funds, along with $2 million from the CU President’s Office and $1 million from the CU Foundation.

What is an equity-serving institution?

As an equity-serving institution, CU Denver will be able to expand its capacity to deliver the highest level of education services to its students. The university will focus on courageously humanizing its systems and policies to foster a diverse, inclusive, and equitable campus dedicated to the success of every member of our community.

“The $4 million will allow us to move forward on several important initiatives on our journey to create an equitable university,” Marks said. “This money will substantially impact the culture for everyone on our campus now and move us toward our 2030 goal of being a nationally known equity-serving institution.”


Along its path to becoming an equity-serving institution, although not yet officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, CU Denver reached the threshold to be considered both a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI). CU Denver becomes the first research university in the state to attain such statuses. To qualify as an HSI, a university must have undergraduate full-time enrollment that is comprised of at least 25% Hispanic students and 10% for ANNAPISI.

“As someone who has long been involved in and advocated for increased diversity on the CU Denver campus, I am so pleased and encouraged that with the HSI and AANAPISI designations, we will 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 minority-serving institutions.”

Becoming an HSI and AANAPISI enables the campus to receive additional grant opportunities to fund high-impact practices that support all student services and functions, including $2 million of CU System funds earmarked by President Mark Kennedy. With student success at the forefront, these funds will be put toward graduation, student retention, hiring more staff to support new and growing programs, summer education, inclusive pedagogy, and more.

To learn more about CU Denver’s Equity Task Force and its recent panel discussion click here.

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