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“An Analysis on HSI Funding: The Effect on Graduation & Retention Rates for Hispanic/Latino Students”

Author: Jair Alvarez

Department: UIC Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement

Advisor: Dr. Joseph K. Hoereth, IPCE

Abstract: The Higher Education Act of 1965 was created to strengthen colleges' and universities' educational resources to assist students in postsecondary and higher education financially. Section TITLE V of the act developed the formation of Hispanic-Serving Institutions, which allows eligible higher education institutions to apply for federal funding to enhance the academic offerings for their large number of Hispanic students and other low-income individuals to complete postsecondary degrees. This policy analysis aims to analyze the effectiveness of TITLE V and determine if it upholds the value of "serving" its students based on the institution's Hispanic and Latino/a graduation and retention rates. Because of the multidimensional and conceptualized idea of "serving" students, this research will follow most scholars' definitions highlighting students' academic outcomes, such as recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of Hispanic/Latino/a students in higher education. The research from scholars indicates that universities strategically enroll Hispanic/Latino/a and low-income students to become eligible for HSI funding. Further, scholars claim that some institutions pursue federal funding for other reasons that "have little to do with immediately serving students generally or Latinx students more specifically" (Aguilar-Smith, 2021). Based on a policy analysis and a review of the literature, it was noted that some higher education institutions and universities developed plans to acquire the funding for various reasons; however, there appeared to be little evidence to determine whether HSI funding had a direct impact on graduation and retention rates for Hispanic/Latino/a students throughout a national average. 

Keywords: Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Hispanic, Latino, Graduation rates, Retention rates