Hispanic-Serving Institution Initiative

What is “HSI”?

Student waving at UNT commencement wearing Hispanic Student Association stole“Hispanic-Serving Institution” (HSI) is a federal designation defined by the Higher Education Act. It requires that institutions be two- or four-year accredited colleges, enroll a significant proportion of low-income students and have 25% of their full-time undergraduate student body be Hispanic. Once an institution achieves HSI status, they are eligible to apply for federal Title III and V funds.

While HSIs comprise only a small percentage of all institutions of higher education, they enroll about two-thirds of all Hispanic undergraduates in the country. As one of only 21 universities in the U.S. designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution and ranked a Tier One research institution by the Carnegie Classification®, UNT is a proud founding member of the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities.

Why is the HSI designation important to UNT?

As a caring and creative community that prepares students for careers in a rapidly changing world, UNT is committed to serving underrepresented and underserved communities. UNT also is the largest public university in the increasingly diverse North Texas region, reinforcing the need to serve as a welcoming institution for everyone, and especially for the growing Latina/o population of the UNT student body.

One of UNT’s ongoing goals is creating an equitable and inclusive campus community. Earning designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2020 made UNT eligible to apply for Title III and V federal funds to support student success, research and outreach. Although increased federal funding is not the sole reason UNT decided to pursue this goal, these funds are vital to the institution's efforts to provide additional support and expanded resources to students, as well as fuel additional research that helps distinguish this university as one of the best in the country.

What is the HSI Initiative?UNT students outside the Union

UNT's HSI Initiative Task Force is charged with providing advice and oversight as the institution leverages its HSI status to support and expand initiatives targeted to aid Hispanic students in successfully enrolling in, thriving at and graduating from the university. The work of the group will help to develop a holistic approach to serving Hispanic students within the institution.

In service of this mission, the HSI Task Force will:

  • Gain a better understanding of UNT’s Hispanic student population by reviewing relevant data, e.g., disaggregated data on Hispanic student enrollment, persistence and graduation; climate survey data; National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data; etc.
  • Review initiatives in the 2020-2025 UNT Strategic Plan that directly focus on improving the educational experience of Hispanic students.
  • Identify the needs of Hispanic students by hearing directly from the students.
  • Identify best practices and suggest strategies to strengthen developmental education, cohort support programs and academic advising for Hispanic students.
  • Explore ways to engage faculty in formulating and participating in changes in institutional practice to serve Hispanic and other students.
  • Determine if UNT has sufficient resources to address the needs of Hispanic students.
  • Identify ways to increase the collaboration with, and facilitate transfers from, community colleges since many Hispanic students begin their education at these institutions.
  • Identify possible grant funding opportunities to assist UNT in expanding educational opportunities for, and improving the attainment of, Hispanic students.
  • Develop a plan to publicize UNT’s HSI status thereby enhancing the university’s attractiveness to prospective students, faculty and staff.

HSI Initiative Task Force members

  • Michael McPherson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Pamela Padilla, Vice President for Research and Innovation
  • Lisa McIntyre, Vice Provost for Student Success
  • Jason Simon, Associate Vice President for Institutional Research and DAIR
  • Melissa McGuire, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Brenda Barrio, Assistant Vice President for Research and Innovation
  • Angie Cartwright, Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty Success
  • Denise Amy Baxter, Associate Dean for Professional Development, Toulouse Graduate School
  • Tomás Sanchez, Associate Director of Residence Life
  • Erika Briones, Associate Director of Outreach and Recruitment, Ventanilla de Orientación Educativa Officer
  • Bob Garza, UNT Alumnus
  • Samuel Manickam, Chair, Department of Spanish
  • Valerie Martinez-Ebers, Professor, Department of Political Science
  • David Munoz-Sarabia, UNT Center for Belonging and Engagement
  • Hector Siller Carrillo, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
  • LeGrande Slaughter, Chair, Department of Chemistry
  • Stephanie Ludi, Professor, Computer Science and Engineering
  • Sergio Renovato-Vasquez, Assistant Director, Union Operations
  • Amanda Fuller, Associate Director of Academic Communications, UBSC
  • Catherine Ragland, Associate Professor, Music Theory, History and Ethnomusicology

Do UNT’s efforts to recruit Hispanic students come at the expense of recruiting students from other backgrounds?

No. UNT is equally committed to recruiting students from all backgrounds and has a stated goal of increasing enrollment and retention for all students. The recruitment and retention strategies employed for Hispanic and Latina/o students will benefit all current and future UNT students.

How does UNT support its Hispanic students?

UNT has committed to a wide range of programs within the university and through organizational partnerships to create a caring and welcoming environment where Hispanic students can thrive. Here’s a selected list:

  • UNT Folklórico dancerPre-College Programs
    • Trio-Talent Search: Dedicated to increasing the number of college graduates in the Cooke and Denton counties by assisting with academic enrichment, college enrollment, and the financial aid process.
    • TRIO Upward Bound: Dedicated to increasing the rate at which pre-college participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.
  • College Programs
    • Student Support Services: The federally funded TRIO program is designed to increase retention and graduation rates of current UNT students who are low-income, first-generation and/or students with documented disabilities.
    • Through the Latina/o and Mexican American Studies (LMAS) program, housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, UNT offers a bachelor's degree in Latina/o Culture, Economy and Policy as well as a certification in Latina/o and Mexican-American Studies.
  • New and Current students
    • E-Start: This five-week summer residential program offers newly admitted first year students an opportunity to build community, become acquainted with campus and earn up to six hours of graded credit before the fall semester begins.
  • Campus and Community Activities and Associations
    Full list of Campus and Community Activities and Associations
  • Fraternities/Sororities
    • Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, Inc. (ODPhi)
    • Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. (LTA
    • Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, Inc. (KDChi)
    • Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc. (Gammas)

Commitments for advancing UNT as an HSI

In summer 2020, President Smatresk committed to the Moving Forward Together plan, which advances UNT as an inclusive campus. Below are specific examples of the investments UNT is making to advance its effectiveness an inclusive HSI.

  • Students and families attend UNT LiveIn Spring 2024, UNT will host  UNT en Familia, a free and fully bilingual event where future students and their families can meet UNT's expert Admissions Recruiters, connect with current students, enjoy live performances and be entered to win a Green & White Tuition Award just for attending.
  • UNT is an institutional member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), providing UNT students, staff and faculty with access to conferences, workshops, scholarships and other resources. 
    • HACU is the only national educational association that represents Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). HACU’s conferences and special events each year provide a vital platform for advocacy, information, collaboration, and recognition. These events include the National Capitol Forum on Hispanic Higher Education each spring in Washington, D.C., and HACU’s Annual Conference. Student participation has been an important new dimension in recent years. HACU also hosts a biennial International Conference. Thousands of students benefit from HACU's internships, scholarships, college retention and advancement programs, pre-collegiate support, and career development opportunities and programs.
  • Planning is underway for a new Center for Belonging and Engagement to be constructed near the University Union that will support the UNT student body.
  • Latinas in Progress is a pre-college program sponsored by the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas (HWNT), which is a non-profit state-wide organization established in 1986. HWNT’s purpose is to "promote the advancement of women in public, corporate and civic life through education, personal and professional development." LIP collaborates with universities and colleges across Texas to prepare program participants who are graduating high school seniors towards achieving their dreams of a college degree. UNT partners with HWNT to host Latinas in Progress when participants tour the UNT campus as a part of their visits to colleges in the DFW Metroplex.
  • The Latino Advisory Committee has been meeting over the past two years and is a joint effort with the Division of Advancement and UNT Alumnus Bob Garza. In January 2021, the UNT Alumni Association Board of Directors approved the Latinx Alumni Network as a constituent group of the UNT Alumni Association. Creation of this new alumni affinity group was a joint effort of the Division of Advancement and UNT Alumnus Bob Garza. The Latino Advisory Network is actively seeking new members.
  • UNT and the Consul of Mexico in Dallas are partners in Ventanilla de Orientación Educativa. Erika Briones, associate director of Outreach in the UNT Division of Enrollment is the key contact for this effort to enhance recruit and retention of Hispanic students at UNT. In August 2021, UNT opened a Community GO Center at the Consulate of Mexico. GO Centers are a resource that aids in how students can prepare for college. The GO Center staffs UNT student employees through the G-Force Mentorship Program, who assist Briones in helping visitors to the Consulate navigate the higher education enrollment process.
  • In October 2021, the Outreach unit in the Division of Enrollment hosted a Spanish Language Parents' Academy (in person) at UNT Hall Park campus in collaboration with Frisco ISD. While the program had been managed virtually, this was the first time the event was held in person. Over 30 parents visited the possibility to receive more information about financial and UNT resources. Representative of the Consul of Mexico attended the event and lauded UNT’s efforts to serve Hispanic families.