Excelencia in Education conducted a Webinar on 25 years of Hispanic Serving Institutions on March 23rd. Among the speakers were William Serrata, President of El Paso Community College; Chancellor Richard Rhodes of Austin Community College District; the University of Texas El Paso’s President Heather Wilson; Taylor Eighty, Chancellor UTSA and Jay Hartzell, President of the University of Texas at Austin. The colleges represented were interviewed by Deborah Santiago, CEO of Excelencia, and were highlighted for being a Seal of Excelencia institution.
“Closing equity gaps in degree attainment requires investing in the institutions enrolling and graduating Latino students in Texas and across the country,” said Santiago. “Learning what these institutions are doing to intentionally serve Latino students and accelerating their impact is critical at the state and federal levels.” Santiago noted that 81 percent of Latinos are enrolled in a Hispanic serving institution, and three Texas colleges rank as the top three in the nation for enrolling Latinos. At the top are South Texas College, El Paso Community College, Lone Star, and San Antonio College. All of which have been trained in the Ascender Framework for student, faculty and institutional advancement.
When asked how they went about doing their work to achieve positive results, Chancellor Richard Rhodes from the Austin Community College District highlighted the importance on innovation and collaboration to address the disparity gap and mentioned the Ascender Catch the Next Program for helping to facilitate student success.
A Hispanic-serving institution is defined in federal law as an accredited, degree-granting, public or private nonprofit institution of higher education with 25% or more total undergraduate Hispanic full-time equivalent student enrollment. In the 2018–19 academic year, 539 institutions met the federal enrollment criterion.