From Capacity to Success: HSI, Title V, and Latino Students

By Irene Cruz

A recent report by Excelencia in Education reviewed 20 years of Title V grant abstracts and final grantee reports to examine how Hispanic Serving institutions (HSIs) used Title V grant funds and whether Latino students’ educational achievement improved as the number of HSIs increased and they began serving more Latino students. Currently, HSIs represent 12 percent of colleges and universities in the United States and enroll 60 percent of all Latino undergraduates. Preliminary findings show that the majority of HSIs receiving Title V funds have invested in efforts consistent with the intent of the program and the access and completion of Latino students in higher education has improved as the number of HSIs has also increased.

Key results from the report are as follows:

  • In the last 20 years, Latino student enrollment in higher education has tripled (from 1 to 3.2 million) and their representation in total college enrollment has doubled (from 8% to 17%).  Over that same period of time, the number of HSIs has more than doubled (from 189 to 409).
    • Latino student enrollment at HSIs has tripled in the last two decades. HSIs served 1.6 million undergraduates in 2013-2014, compared to under 500,000 in 1994-1995.
  • Overall, in the last 20 years, Latino education attainment of an associate’s degree or higher has more than doubled, from 12% in 1995 to 23% in 2014.
  • Latino graduation rates at four-year institutions increased from 46% for the 1996 cohort to 54% for the 2008 cohort, compared to white students whose graduation rates increased from 58% to 63% in the same time frame.
  • Combined persistence and completion rates of students attending HSIs were 64% in 2013, compared to 71% of students at all institutions.
  • Students who attend 4-year HSIs have higher combined persistence and completion rates (74%) than students who attend 2-year HSIs (58%).
  • 70% of Title V recipients invested their funds in three activities: faculty and curriculum development (33%), student support services (26%) and fund and administrative management (11%).
  • The report recommends future research within the HSI community as the report was limited in its ability to link the increase in Latino education success with the development of the Title V program.  According to the report, demonstrating a direct link is challenging as the amount of HSI grants are relatively small in proportion to other dollars in institutional budgets and because the lack of student level data within institutions makes it difficult to dis-aggregate outcomes by race/ethnicity.