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What is a

Hispanic Serving Institution?

A Hispanic Serving Institution, or HSI, is a designation provided by the federal government to not-for-profit institutions of higher education whose undergraduate student enrollment is 25% or more Hispanic; see the federal definition here


This designation is defined in Title V of the Higher Education Act. The designation does provide institutions with guidance on how to best serve students. Colleges and universities designated as HSIs can apply to Title V and Title III, Part A grants as well as other government funding sources that prioritize HSIs, such as the National Science Foundation's Hispanic Serving Institutions program.  

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Our Context: Sac State

  • As of 2023, Sacramento State enrolls approximately 36% Latinx undergraduate students.

  • Sac State was designated a HSI in 2015.​

Our Context: The California State University (CSU) System

  • 21 of the 23 CSU campuses are designated HSIs​.

  • CSU system has awarded 63% of the total number of bachelor's degrees earned by Latinx students in California​.

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Learn more about HSIs


  • Cuellar M. G. (2019). Creating Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) and emerging HSIs: Latina/o college choice at 4-year institutions. American Journal of Education, 125(2), 231–258.​ 

  • Garcia, G.A. (2016). Complicating a Latina/o-serving Identity at a Hispanic Serving Institution. The Review of Higher Education. 40(1), 117-143. https://doi:10.1353/rhe.2016.0040

  • Garcia, G.A.,  Núñez, A.M. & Sanson, V.A. (2019). Toward a multidimensional conceptual framework for understanding “servingness” in Hispanic-Serving institutions: A synthesis of the research. Review of Educational Research, 80(5), 745-784.

  • Garcia, G. A., & Cuellar, M. G. (2023). Advancing “Intersectional Servingness” in Research, Practice, and Policy With Hispanic-Serving Institutions. AERA Open, 9.

  • Núñez A.-M. (2017). Flipping the HSI narrative: An HSI positionality. Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, 11(3), 276–295.

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