Marquette University took a significant step forward in its commitment to becoming a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) by achieving “Emerging HSI” status, a designation for institutions with Hispanic or Latinx students making up between 15% and 24.9% of their undergraduate student body.
With a historic first-year class this fall made up of 18% Hispanic/Latinx students, Marquette is now at 15.4% of its undergraduate enrollment identifying as Hispanic/Latinx, which surpasses the 15% threshold needed to achieve Emerging HSI status.
“This is an exciting milestone that demonstrates the progress we are making with the initiatives put in place to attract and retain Latinx students at Marquette University,” Provost Kimo Ah Yun said. “We have made an ambitious commitment to serve one of the fastest-growing segments of the population. Achieving ‘Emerging HSI’ status is one step on that path.”
HSI is a federal designation, which requires an undergraduate population that is at least 25% Hispanic. At least half of those students must qualify as low-income. Marquette announced its commitment to becoming an HSI in 2016. At that time, undergraduate Hispanic/Latinx student enrollment was 9.7%. Overall, the university’s Latinx undergraduate enrollment has more than doubled over the last 10 years.
“This commitment to becoming an HSI goes well beyond first-year student recruitment, as it has driven our approach to equity and inclusion efforts and touches every facet of campus life,” said Jacki Black, director of Hispanic initiatives and diversity and inclusion educational programming. “Marquette is striving to build our capacity to serve underrepresented students well, not only in terms of producing positive outcomes, such as graduation rates, but also ensuring that students have culturally affirming experiences during their time on campus.”
In line with the university’s mission to make accessible the transformational Catholic, Jesuit education that Marquette has offered for 140 years, resources and initiatives have been developed to remove barriers facing first-generation and underrepresented student populations. Marquette has invested significant resources into financial aid and scholarships, providing Latinx students with $33 million in financial aid in the 2020-21 academic year. Other efforts to support students financially have included more than $250,000 raised for the Ellacuría Scholarship for undocumented students through 2021, and up to $30,000 in matching funds for Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee scholarships offered to Marquette students.
The vision of Marquette as an HSI is one that includes strong ties to the local community, compositional diversity at all levels of the institution, a rich and rigorous educational experience that is accessible to students from all income levels and backgrounds, a commitment to the production of knowledge that advances social equity, a culturally affirming campus climate where underrepresented students and employees feel a sense of connection and belonging, and the infrastructure necessary to support all our stakeholders and help them thrive.
Marquette has invested in the following initiatives to foster a culturally responsive campus environment:
- Race, Ethnic and Indigenous Studies program, which promotes critical academic scholarship on the workings of racial/ethnic identity, the persistence of racism and other forms of social oppression.
- Ready to Inspire Success and Excellence (RISE), a pre-orientation program for students of color.
- Employee Resource Groups to promote a sense of community, build personal and professional networks, enhance employee support and retention, and assist in attracting new employees to foster a diverse and inclusive community.
- Hispanic Alumni Association, a meaningful network for Hispanic alumni to connect with each other and the university.
- Opportunities for employees to engage in critical learnings around issues of race and bias.
- Investment in the beautification and diversification of campus spaces, including a campus mural project that showcases the diversity, richness and complexity of the campus and makes visible the interconnected nature of the experiences and struggles of many women of color.
- Spanish language pages on edu/es; social media accounts — @SomosMarquette on Twitter and Instagram; bilingual staff members in the areas of admissions and financial aid; and New Student and Family Programs provide programming to help students and families navigate complicated processes and transition successfully to college
To better communicate and co-create what this milestone means for our campus community, Marquette will host an “Emerging HSI Day of Dialogue” on Friday, Nov. 19. Registration is available online.