What is a Hispanic-Serving Institution?

A Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) is an institution of higher education that has an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25 percent Latinx (defined at bottom of page). To become an HSI, an institution has to apply for designation via the US Department of Education.

Cal Lutheran reached 25 percent Latinx in 2013 and obtained HSI Status in 2016. In 2021, nearly 39% of our student population identifies as Latinx. HSI designation provides many benefits, including the opportunity to apply for federal funding. Between 2016 and 2018, Cal Lutheran received over 11 million dollars in federal HSI Title III and Title V grants.

How did Cal Lutheran become an HSI?

There is no recipe to becoming an HSI, however, most HSIs develop because of demographic changes in the areas surrounding the institution. This is unlike Tribal Colleges and Universities and Historically Black Colleges and Universities which were founded to serve their respective populations. An increase in the Latinx population in both Los Angeles County (49%) and Ventura County (42%), along with intentional efforts to increase the diversity of the student body, prompted Cal Lutheran’s move to become an HSI.

What does it mean for Cal Lutheran to be an HSI? How does this fit our University Mission? How does this fit our Lutheran mission?

At Cal Lutheran being an HSI means taking an internal look at processes and systems in higher education that have disproportionately affected historically marginalized groups* (defined at bottom of page). This means, looking at all areas of the University to be more inclusive. In 2017, Inclusion became a major component of our University Strategic Goals; this has allowed Cal Lutheran to grow as a leader in the HSI community and set an example of inclusive excellence. Cal Lutheran’s mission is to help develop leaders for a global society, in becoming an HSI, we honor this promise to students (and their families).  As an HSI, Cal Lutheran provides students a more holistic view of the world enabling them to become leaders in an ever changing and diverse world. As a member of the ELCA, Cal Lutheran embraces the teachings of inclusivity championed by the church.

How do all students benefit from Cal Lutheran’s HSI designation?

HSI designation has given Cal Lutheran, via Title III and Title V funds, the opportunity to better serve Latinx transfer students, Latinx students pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and Latinx students interested in becoming teachers.

Tutoring and supplemental instruction in the STEM disciplines have been implemented and all STEM students have access to advisors in addition to faculty to guide their careers.

Both Title III and Title V funds have positively impacted curriculum in all areas of study. Faculty, through HSI funding, may apply to receive professional development to incorporate high impact teaching practices, such as active learning and culturally responsive pedagogy.

*Historically marginalized individuals are those who identify as Latinx, Black/African American, Pacific Islander, American Indian, Alaska Native or any combination of these identities.

Latinx is a gender inclusive term used to describe people of all genders that are of Latina/o descent