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The federal government designated Colorado Mountain College as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in 2021 after years of deliberate efforts to grow CMC’s student body to be 25% or more Latino. The HSI designation means the college is now eligible for additional grant funding that benefits all students.
CMC is the first HSI located in Colorado’s rural, high-cost mountain resort region. Only about one-third of Colorado’s public colleges have been granted HSI status. There are just over 500 Hispanic Serving Institutions in the United States (about 10% of roughly 5,000 colleges and universities nationwide).
CMC achieved its HSI designation through deliberate efforts to increase enrollment among Latino students. In 2013, CMC’s Latino population was approximately 13% of overall enrollments, which was not representative of the general population.
The college promptly adopted performance objectives for each of its 11 campuses and the college as a whole. In every category – enrollment, retention, credit accumulation and course completion – the college focused on disparities between Latino and non-Latino students.
Latino students had the highest completion performance among all groups in fiscal year 2019-2020.
By 2020, the improvements at CMC were dramatic and positive. On nearly every metric, Latino student performance not only improved but stubborn gaps in retention and completion finally closed. In fact, Latino students had the highest completion performance among all groups in fiscal year 2019-2020.
Noteworthy, these improvements did not come at the expense of anyone else. Over the past five years, equity disparities have dissolved and all students at CMC have become more successful.
CMC’s newly minted HSI status marks the end of the beginning, not an end to itself. Considerable effort still lies ahead including pursuing federal grants for which we are now eligible – resources that will improve the CMC experience for everyone.
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