Hispanic Outreach By Non-HSIs Lacking, Study Indicates

Hispanic Outreach By Non-HSIs Lacking, Study Indicates
By David Pluviose

Hispanic-serving institutions make up only 6 percent of all colleges, but enroll half of all Hispanic college students, raising questions in a new study about outreach and diversity efforts at majority schools.
The Excelencia in Education study, titled “Choosing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs): A Closer Look at Latino Students’ College Choices,” finds that most Hispanics enrolled in HSIs didn’t do so intentionally, and are motivated by factors such as open admissions policies, locations in close proximity to large Latino populations and costs. Subsequently, many colleges that fit into that criteria reach the 25 percent threshold qualifying them for federal HSI designation quickly. The Excelencia study, funded by the Ford Foundation, is based on focus groups and interviews with 103 Latino students from college campuses around the country. In addition to giving reasons why most Latinos favor HSIs, they also listed some recommendations on how majority schools can improve recruitment of Hispanics. They include aggressively recruiting students, as military recruiters do, by engaging and reaching out to entire families and providing accurate information about the on-campus student resources.

“In a lot of more selective institutions, we expect students to find us, and to apply in a rigorous way in our application process. We often find that if students have limited information and choices, they don’t see those institutions as a possibility,” says study author Dr. Deborah A. Santiago, vice president for policy and research at Excelencia in Education, a Hispanic education think tank. “If these institutions want to make serious contributions, they’re going to have to find ways to reach out to these students and not just expect these students to come to them,” she adds.

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