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Celebrating Texas’ Hispanic Serving Institutions

By: TxCAN   |   September 2022

Read about Texas’ Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) for Hispanic Heritage Month!

September 15 to October 15, 2022 is National Hispanic American Heritage Month, and as a state which is 40% Hispanic according to the Census Bureau, Texas should be celebrating and learning. There are countless facets to Hispanic heritage in Texas worth thorough exploration, and one of them is Texas’ Hispanic Serving Institutions.   

A Hispanic Serving Institution, or HSI, is a college or university which is a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, at which Hispanic or Latino students make up a minimum of 25% of the student population. This designation was made possible by the Higher Education Act of 1965, which provided special funding under Title III or Title V. In their 2020 report, which marked the 25th anniversary of HSI designation in Texas, Excelencia in Education denoted the following about Texas HSIs:   

  • Texas has the 2nd most HSIs amongst all states and locations.  

  • HSIs represent over 40% of all institutions, yet enroll over 80% of Latino undergraduates and 65% of all undergraduates. 

  • Of all degrees (certificates, associate’s, and bachelor’s) earned by Latinos, almost 80% are earned at HSIs and 66% of all degrees earned are at HSIs. 

  • Over 145 unique federal grants to support capacity building (Title V awards) have been awarded to these institutions, totaling over $331 million. 

  • There are 45 institutions close to HSI status (Emerging HSIs--eHSIs) in Texas and 40 HSIs with graduate programs (gHSIs).   

According to Niche, there are currently 109 HSI’s in the state of Texas. Some of them represent the most highly-ranked HSIs in the nation.   

Texas Tech University, the #5 HSI in the United States by education quality, boasts a Hispanic and Latino population of 29.7% and achieved HSI status in 2019. Title III and Title V grant funding have allowed Texas Tech to build a robust series of support and recruitment initiatives for students of color and first-generation students, many of whom, Texas Tech details, are Hispanic. Some of the programs that Texas Tech employs in service of its Hispanic and Latino students are peer mentorship, educational workshops, the McNair Scholars Program, TRIO, a DACA Resource Center, and Student Intersectional Leadership Council (SILC).   

You can read more about Texas Tech and its HSI initiatives here. 

Congratulations to the University of Houston for placing third in the 2nd Annual HSI Battle of the Brains Competition this past March 2022! In October 2020, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) -- the nation’s third largest producer of bachelor’s degrees for Hispanic and Latino students -- was crowned national champion at the HSI Battle of the Brains

HSI Battle of the Brains is an annual competition where teams of students from HSIs “pitch” a detailed solution to an assigned problem in twenty four hours. 2020’s seven champions, who won a $20,000 grand prize, pitched an education app called ARC Learning, which utilizes augmented reality technology to recreate a “classroom” feel on the user’s mobile phone. The seven students devised ARC Learning as a solution to improving virtual learning. Mauricio de Leo, a senior physics major, stated that it took the team “about six hours” to come up with the idea.    

Read more about ARC Learning and the team who pitched it here. 

Texas Tech University, University of Houston, and UTRGV provide just three examples of HSI excellence in Texas. However, despite the massive achievements of Latino and Hispanic Students, there is still much more that Texas can do to improve access and quality of education for its sizeable Hispanic and Latino population.  

Excelencia in Education states: 

“Many of Texas’ Latino students who begin higher education do not complete [their degree programs]. Statewide, only 21 percent of Latino adults have an associate degree or higher, compared to 47 percent of White non-Hispanic adults. Moreover, at four-year institutions, Latino students have a graduation rate 14 percentage points lower than White students—47 percent and 61 percent, respectively. Closing the degree attainment gap in Texas will require policies that help the many Latino students entering higher education on their path to completion.”  

This National Hispanic Heritage Month, consider how you and your network can give back to Texas’ Hispanic and Latino community! 


The Texas College Access Network (TxCAN) connects and supports college access initiatives across Texas, with the goal of increasing access to college and certificate programs.