A important milestone was reached this year when the campus received official word that it was designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university will receive $574,995 annually for five years to address the educational and professional obstacles experienced by Latino students. CSULB was one of 33 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the designation and was the only four-year institution in California to receive the Title V grant.
The HSI designation is open to non-profit institutions that have at least 25 percent Hispanic full-time equivalent enrollment with at least 50 percent of enrolled Hispanic students qualifying as low income. CSULB became eligible for HSI status in fall 2005 when 8,663 Latino students enrolled at the campus, representing 25.1 percent of undergraduate and graduate students.
CSULB has experienced a steady increase in the enrollment of Latino undergraduate students, from 6,323 in 2001 to 7,496 in 2005. Through a variety of campus initiatives, the university also has recently improved its one-year retention rates for both first-time freshmen and transfer Latino students from 80 percent and 91.3 percent, respectively. During the five-year period that began in 1999, the six-year graduation rates for first-time Latino freshmen and four-year graduation rates for transfer Latino students improved by 15 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively. These increases have helped CSULB’s graduation rates for Latino students exceed that of the national average for public universities.
Grants are awarded to HSIs to improve educational opportunities and academic attainment of Hispanic students. The CSULB project, “Mi Casa, Mi Universidad: Building a Culture and Practice of Latino Student Success at California State University, Long Beach,” was developed by Britt Rios-Ellis and Linda Tiggs-Taylor, along with a team of university faculty and staff. CSULB will use the funds to improve the recruitment, retention, grade point averages and graduation rates of Latino students. Funds may be used for student support services, academic facilities and equipment and faculty and academic program development.
According to President F. King Alexander, “This designation reflects the racial and ethnic evolution of our campus. The grant will further allow us to make continued strides toward addressing the academic and professional success of our Latino students and will make federal grant opportunities available to faculty, staff and students.”