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Hispanic-Serving Institution

The Community College of Rhode Island is proud to be formally designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). As an HSI, we remain committed to expanding educational opportunities and improving the academic attainment of Hispanic and low-income students; the support and promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education; and expanding and enhancing the academic offerings, program quality, and institutional stability of colleges and universities that are educating the majority of Hispanic college students. 

After many years as an Emerging HSI, CCRI earned HSI designation for the 2021-22 academic year with a 25.1% full-time Hispanic student population. The one-year lag in reporting is due to data collection and verification by the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System maintained by the U.S. Department of Education. The college believes it has also met the threshold for the 2022-23 academic year based on its Fall 2022 enrollment census, which saw a 13% total increase in Hispanic/LatinX students over Fall 2021.

PIC1What does it mean?

HSIs are defined in Title V of the Higher Education Act as not-for-profit institutions of higher learning with a full-time equivalent (FTE) undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25 percent Hispanic and are certified as such by the U.S. Department of Education.

Hispanic-serving institutions play an important role in higher education by increasing educational opportunities and access and success for the nation's Hispanic population. 

HSI designation will allow CCRI to apply for HSI-specific, U.S. Department of Education grants to fund training, programs, and infrastructure to support the enhancement of educational opportunities for students such as such as educational materials, academic tutoring and counseling, scholarships, faculty and administrative development, academic instruction, and renovation of instructional facilities.

According to Excelencia in Education, which has calculated the lists of HSIs for more than 20 years, 571 two- and four-year institutions met the enrollment definition of an HSI. The number of HSIs increased above pre-pandemic levels in 2021-22 after falling for the first time in two decades last year (to 559) due to enrollment declines, institutional closings, and consolidation during the pandemic. HSIs represent 19% of all institutions of higher education and enroll 62% of Hispanic undergraduates. In 2021-22, HSIs are located in 28 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These institutions represent 19% of all institutions of higher education and enroll 62% of Hispanic undergraduates.

CCRI is one of two institutions of higher education in Rhode Island to be designated as an HSI for 2021-22.

History of HSIs
In the 1980s, educators and policymakers pursued HSIs as a grassroots effort to recognize institutions that enroll a large number of Latinx students, which was and continues to be a rapidly growing demographic in the United States. The HACU formed in 1986 and would eventually become the membership association for HSIs.

Congress formally recognized HSIs in 1992, resulting in federal funding to HSI-designated institutions, which today represent 16 percent of all nonprofit colleges and universities and enroll more than half of all Hispanic students in college in the United States. 

For more information on the 2021-2022 HSIs, please visit the Excelencia in Education HSI website.

Serving our students

At CCRI, we have a variety of student services and resources designed to assist students in overcoming academic, financial, social, cultural, and ethnic barriers in higher education.

  • English Language Studies (ELS): The goal of the program is to help speakers of other languages achieve a level of English proficiency to function better in everyday living, enter a job training program, improve performance in current jobs, and/or pursue other goals.
  • English Language Learners (ELL/ESL): This program is designed for non-native speakers of English who are pursuing academic studies at the college level.
  • Access to Opportunity: Access provides comprehensive services to eligible students at all four campuses whose parents never completed a bachelor's degree, meet low-income federal guidelines, and/or are persons with a documented disability.
  • Rhode Island Educational Opportunity Center (RIEOC): The RIEOC provides free services primarily to students who are first generation; age 19 or older with limited incomes; U.S. veterans or military-connected family members; or unaccompanied, homeless, or foster care youth. 
  • The Tutoring Center: Through The Tutoring Center, students have access to professional tutors and peer tutors, 24/7 tutoring through the TutorMe application, and academic coaches who assist with organization and time management skills, textbook-reading techniques, note-taking tips, and test-taking strategies.
  • Advising and Counseling: All students who enroll are assigned to an Academic Advisor who provides support on transitioning to CCRI, academic planning, course selection, transferring to a four-year college or university, and how to enhance college success skills.