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UA Cossatot recognized as state’s only Hispanic-Serving Institution

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FIRST IN HER FAMILY. UA Cossatot Latina graduate Miriam Bahena and friends celebrate at one of UA Cossatot’s graduation ceremonies. Cossatot is the only Hispanic-Serving Institution in Arkansas.

The U.S. Department of Education has named the University of Arkansas Cossatot a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) for 2018-19, meaning that more than 25% of full-time students identify as Latino.

UA Cossatot is the first and only Hispanic-Serving Institution in Arkansas.

“The mission of the University of Arkansas System and its institutions is to serve Arkansas by providing high-quality educational opportunities and intellectual growth to an ever-changing and diverse population,” said Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt, president of the UA System.

“As the state’s largest higher education system, we are proud that UA Cossatot has earned this distinction by serving a growing Hispanic population that has much to offer this state, first as students and then as future graduates,” said Bobbitt.

UA Cossatot’s Hispanic enrollment is currently 27%, compared to only 11% a decade ago. According to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), the number of HSIs continues to grow rapidly, from 189 in 1994, to 229 in 2000, to 245 in 2005, to 311 in 2010, and 472 in 2015.

The Director of Arkansas Department of Higher Education Maria Markham added, “UA Cossatot is proving their commitment by providing access for Hispanic students to attend college. Research shows that many Hispanic students are academically prepared for college; however, being the first generation to attend makes navigating higher education processes more of a challenge. The staff at UA Cossatot recognized this and is demonstrating leadership in the state for educating and preparing a workforce in an efficient and effective way.”

Some facts about HSIs to note:
 HSIs are less than 15% of institutions but enroll 64% of Latino undergraduates.
• Many HSIs have relatively low enrollment, with 59 percent of HSIs enrolling 2,000 or less total full-time students.
 44 percent of HSIs were community colleges, and 66 percent were public institutions.
 A majority of HSIs are located in urban areas and are concentrated geographically, with 81 percent of these institutions in California, Texas, Puerto Rico, Florida, New York, and New Mexico.
  HSIs and Emerging HSIs are present in all but 13 states.

The designation proceeds eligibility through the Higher Education Opportunity act of 2008 (HEA) for the college to receive Title V federal grants. According to the U.S. Department of Education, these funds can be used for activities such as: scientific or laboratory equipment for teaching; construction or renovation of instructional facilities; faculty development; purchase of educational materials; academic tutoring or counseling programs; funds and administrative management; joint use of facilities; endowment funds; distance learning academic instruction; teacher education; and student support services.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said, “The best way to serve our communities is by assessing and meeting the needs of the people in them. UA Cossatot is doing just that.”

“I appreciate its leadership in being the first college or university in Arkansas to be named a Hispanic-Serving Institution. UA Cossatot provides important educational resources that are strengthening and equipping Arkansas’s workforce,” said Hutchinson.