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Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI)

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UC San Diego has made great strides toward becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). With 20% full-time Latinx undergraduate student enrollment as of fall 2020, we are considered an Emerging HSI. This puts us close to our goal of at least 25% full-time Latinx undergraduate enrollment, making us eligible for HSI designation by the U.S. Department of Education.

Additionally, as a renowned research institution with a strong STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) focus, UC San Diego aims to become a model STEM HSI. 


Gratitude for Those Who Paved the Way

The work associated with pursuing the HSI designation has been forged by students, staff, faculty, and community members who, over the decades since UC San Diego opened its doors, took formative steps on our journey to ensure that our campus is accessible to all and that support is available to students to achieve their dreams. We acknowledge and thank those student activists, committed community members, and fearless faculty whose work and dedication has enabled our institution to intentionally and collectively work towards becoming an HSI.


What Is an HSI?

As designated by the U.S. Department of Education, an HSI is one that enrolls a minimum of 25% full-time undergraduate Latinx students. Once designated as an HSI, UC San Diego will be eligible for grants to expand educational opportunities for Latinx students. These grants enable HSI campuses to expand and enhance academic offerings and strengthen student services and programs that increase retention and graduation.

In addition to federal resources, HSI status helps us create a more welcoming and inclusive campus culture, making our institution more attractive to potential high-achieving Latinx students.

You can read more about the HSI program and its benefits at the U.S. Department of Education's Hispanic-Serving Institutions webpage.


Why Become an HSI?

California is changing. Currently, its population is 39% Latinx. Its K-12 student population is 55% Latinx.

UC San Diego is committed to reflecting California's diversity and dynamic cultural heritage. To do so, we are working to transforming UC San Diego into a student-centered university for the success of current and future Latinx students.

UC San Diego is where generations rise—when one generation succeeds, the entire family benefits. We, as a university, are invested in families and communities.


How Will We Become an HSI?

In order to help us reach our goal, we have expanded student success programs for students of all backgrounds, from summer transition events to student success coaches and tailored academic resources.

Through programs like the Chancellor’s Associates Scholarship, we increase access for local students to attain a higher education—55% of these scholars identify as Latinx/Chicanx.

The UC San Diego PATHways to STEM Program is designed to increase the number, persistence, and success of underserved and underrepresented minority (URM) students in STEM in San Diego. Seven of the 12 inaugural scholars are Latinx.

The ENLACE bi-national summer research program at UC San Diego aims to encourage the participation of high school students, college students, and researchers/teachers, in research in the sciences and engineering, while promoting cross-border friendships in the Baja California/San Diego region.

Meanwhile, over at the School of Medicine, the Hispanic Center of Excellence (HCOE) Faculty Development Program is designed to improve the recruitment, retention, and success of URM faculty in academic medicine at UC San Diego.

The Chicanx and Latinx Studies (CLS) program at UC San Diego is an interdisciplinary field of study in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. CLS brings students, staff, faculty, and community together in the scholarly examination of Chicanx and Latinx life, history, and culture.


We also recognize that student success isn't just about academic success, so we have intentionally created welcoming spaces where students can celebrate their culture and find community. 

Spaces like the Raza Resource Centro, created in 2014, invite students to take part in interactive learning, engage in open dialogue, and develop as a leader within a vibrant community center.

The Raza Living-Learning Community is one of five living-learning communities developed to strengthen learning by helping residents to connect academically and socially.


These are just a few of the ways we're working to create a supportive campus culture for our Latinx students.


When Did HSI Efforts Begin?

Though UC San Diego has been planning for achievement of HSI status for several years, efforts officially kicked off in April 2016 when the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (VC-EDI) partnered with the Academic Senate to convene an HSI Task Force charged with assessing best practices and strategies needed for UC San Diego to secure HSI designation. This task force tapped members from across campus and sought input from our students through a series of forums and through actively engaging student organizations.

In May 2017, the HSI Task Force submitted to the administration a number of recommendations to boost Latinx enrollment and student success. The university prioritized five of the fifteen recommendations expected to have the most impact, including the establishment of the Latinx/Chicanx Academic Excellence Initiative

In July 2017, Extension's Education and Community Outreach developed  Library NExT (Network of Education x Training), a series of workshops for elementary, middle and high school students on topics including robotics, circuits, Quest for Space: Heat Experiments on the ISS and 64 + other STEAM subjects. Initially started as a pilot program at six San Diego libraries, it has expanded to 21 locations in 2020. 

In February 2018, an HSI Work Group consisting of faculty, staff, and students was convened by VC-EDI and the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs to plan for and implement the priority recommendations. The Office for Strategic Initiatives was consulted throughout the process to ensure the group's work was efficient, inclusive, and accountable.

In Spring 2018, UC San Diego became the permanent home of Adelante Latino and Adelante Mujer conferences.

In March 2018, Extension's Education and Community Outreach developed the Futures initiative to provide high school students experiential education college pathway programs in which they become immersed in applied learning in high demand fields, including technology; life sciences; and business management.

In November 2018, the Latinx/Chicanx Academic Excellence Initiative was launched.

In April 2019, the Latinx/Chicanx Academic Excellence Initiative was introduced to the wider campus community at a campuswide rollout.

In May 2019, Innovation Grants to Advance the Latinx Chicanx Academic Excellence Initiative were announced and five faculty pilots were funded supporting innovation in student success and retention across the campus in areas such as medicine, engineering, early academic outreach, entrepreneurship, career transition, and research methodology. 

In Fall 2019, as part of our continued committment to outreach and access key web pages are translated into Spanish, including Admissions.

In October 2019, as part of our continuing commitment to be a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university, UC San Diego announced an inclusive, campuswide campaign to help develop the first-ever “Statement of Student-Centered Experience.” Formulation of such a statement was one of several recommendations made in 2017 by the HSI Task Force.

In March 2020, in conjunction with Entravision—parent company of Spanish-language television network Univisión—the campus launched a comprehensive, culturally relevant media campaign to reach San Diego’s Latinx/Chicanx communities.

In October 2020, UC San Diego entered into an partnership with the Parent Institute for Quality Education and to implement a collective impact project focused on increasing educational equity and access for LCFF+ students in the Sweetwater School District.