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Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI)



Achieving Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Status

On March 1, 2022, the United States Department of Education notified Texas A&M University – College Station that we have been designated as an eligible institution under Title III and/or Title V of the Higher Education Act of 1965, amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. Now that we have achieved HSI status, how do we maintain eligibility AND leverage the resources and benefits to fulfill Texas A&M’s mission and goals?

Benefits
For Texas A&M, achieving HSI status means campus stakeholders will be eligible for Title III and Title V grants funded by the U.S. Department of Education and a host of other benefits regarding funding. 
 
With an emphasis on institutions that enroll large proportions of Hispanic/Latino/e students, Black/African American students, Native American students, Asian American/Pacific Islander students, and Native Hawaiian students, first generation college students, and financially disadvantaged students, Title III and V grant programs are designed to:

  • Improve academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability, and 
  • Strengthen physical plants and endowments of institutions of higher education.
 
For example, federal funding opportunities are available to develop research, teaching, outreach, and community engagement. (Source: About Higher Education Programs (HEP): Institutional Service)


 
Maintaining Eligibility

Criteria

To be eligible for grant funding under HSI Title III and Title V, an institution of higher education must first be designated as an “eligible institution.” Eligibility criteria include enrollment and fiscal data; student success and graduation data; and affordability. One of the defining requirements for HSI Title III and Title V eligibility is that at least 25% of the institution’s undergraduate, full-time equivalent (FTE) student enrollment is Hispanic students. 

To illustrate, using the student demographic data provided on Texas A&M’s Accountability website, Texas A&M – College Station’s full-time, degree-seeking, undergraduate Hispanic student enrollment was 24.9% for Fall 2019,  25.2% for Fall 2020, and 24.9% for Fall 2021 (Source: https://accountability.tamu.edu/All-Metrics/Mixed-Metrics/Student-Demographics).

Waivers
While Texas A&M meets the minimum demographic criteria for HSI eligibility, the U.S. Department of Education determined that Texas A&M needed to request two waivers: 

Needy Student Waiver: Provide data about scholarships, student success, and plans to substantially increase higher education opportunities for Hispanic/Latino/e students, Black/African American students, Native American students, Asian American/Pacific Islander students, and Native Hawaiian students. 

Core Cost Waiver:  Demonstrate operating high-cost professional schools such as medical and dental schools (post-baccalaureate programs) distort Texas A&M expenses per full-time undergraduate students and Texas A&M’s HSI designation is otherwise consistent with the purposes of the Titles III, V, or VII program.

Assessment
The foundation of Texas A&M’s 2022 HSI application was to establish that Texas A&M has a detailed plan to, and a history of, substantially increasing higher education opportunities for Hispanic or Latino/e students, Black or African American students, Native American students, Asian American/Pacific Islander students, and Native Hawaiian students. 

For the purposes of HSI eligibility, higher education opportunities include both student enrollment and retention. To ensure ongoing eligibility for Title III and/or Title V HSI eligibility, the Office for Diversity will collect and track longitudinal scholarship and financial aid data and demographic data to describe:
  • Student body characteristics  specifically identifying the number and the percentage for Hispanic or Latino/e students, Black or African American students, Native American students, Asian American/Pacific Islander students, and Native Hawaiian students by full-time and part-time status. 
     
  • Programs and services in place during the last three years that were specifically designed to increase the higher educational opportunities for one or more racial/ethnic groups (e.g., Hispanic or Latino/e students, Black or African American students, Native American students, Asian American/Pacific Islander students, and Native Hawaiian students). 
     
  • Programs and services Texas A&M’s College Station campus is currently developing (with projected implementation dates) that are specifically designed to increase the higher educational opportunities for Hispanic or Latino/e students, Black or African American students, Native American students, Asian American/Pacific Islander students, and Native Hawaiian students. Include the projected date(s) for the implementation of these programs and services. 
     
  • Texas A&M’s enrollment goals for Hispanic or Latino/e students, Black or African American students, Native American students, Asian American/Pacific Islander students, and Native Hawaiian students. 

To ensure that Texas A&M maintains HSI eligibility and advances our land grant mission, the HSI assessment plan includes collecting peer comparison data from other HSIs and tracking demographic data, enrollment data, scholarships, and student success. Assessment results will be shared widely with the campus community.  
 
Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Guiding Committee

The HSI Committee is tasked with working across Texas A&M to amplify and optimize the institution's designation as an HSI, furthering the university's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Initially, each member of the HSI Committee will be assigned to a subcommittee to propose initiatives to address the following areas of focus:
  • Cultural - Identify strategies and resources to address campus climate issues
  • Scholarships - Explore research and grants offered under Title III and Title V
  • Engagement & Outreach - Develop strategies to increase enrollment, hiring, and retention
  • Student Success - Increase higher education opportunities for Hispanic Americans, as well as Black or African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians, and first-generation college students

The HSI Committee's efforts will center on facilitating student success and sense of belonging. Leveraging HSI grant funding opportunities will enhance the campus experience and postbaccalaureate outcomes for students from underserved and economically disadvantaged communities.