What is an HSI?

Definitions of a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) can vary depending on the organization, and include technical and philosophical characteristics.

  • A Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) is more than a Hispanic-enrolling one. While there are many ways a campus can be Hispanic-serving, an HSI is one that creates equity for, and advances the success of, all students, and is intentional about its Hispanic/Latino students who represent a notable proportion of the student body.  

  • For membership purposes, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) defines HSIs as "colleges, universities, or systems/districts where total Hispanic enrollment constitutes a minimum of 25% of the total headcount enrollment."

  • Under federal law (Higher Education Opportunity Act, Title V, 2008), an HSI is defined as accredited, degree-granting, public or private nonprofit institutions of higher education with 25%, or more, total undergraduate Hispanic full-time equivalent (FTE) student enrollment.

    • Additional criteria exist for federal Title III and Title V HSI grant programs. 

HSIs by the Numbers

According to Excelencia in Education, a not-for-profit organization in Washington, DC, and trusted information source on Latino educational achievement, in 2016-2017, there were 492 institutions in 21 U.S. states and Puerto Rico that met the enrollment definition of HSI.   

  • 492 HSIs enrolled 65% of all Latino undergraduates, and represented 15% of all institutions of higher education 

  • Over 33% of HSIs are California campuses, and include 21 California State Universities (CSUs).  For a map of CSU HSIs, visit here

  • Additionally, there were 333 "emerging" HSIs, defined as institutions with 15-24.9% undergraduate full-time equivalent Hispanic student enrollment.