At the heart of Denver is the Auraria Campus that serves the students at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Metropolitan State University of Denver, which prides itself on diversity, serves almost 20,000 students, and over 5,000 of those students are Latino.
The school has finally earned the title of a Hispanic Serving Institution, a title earned from the federal designation. To earn the title, the school had to have 25 percent of its students identify as Latino, have at least 50 percent of its students be eligible to receive Title IV federal financial aid funds and have spent money to educate each student be lower than the average value of other schools with a similar amount of students. The school estimates that it spends $13,351 per full-time student.
With a Hispanic-Serving Institution title, Metropolitan State University of Denver will now have access to grant opportunities and corroborates that equate to millions of dollars. The school received a letter from the U.S. Department of Education on Feb. 19 confirming it has the credentials to be a Hispanic-Serving Institution.
“Becoming an (Hispanic Serving Institution) University positions MSU Denver to provide the highest quality of education to Hispanic-identifying students and all students,” said the school’s president, Janine Davidson in a statement said, “I commend every single faculty and staff member who has contributed to this process – especially my predecessor, President Stephen Jordan, and I look forward to the new opportunities this designation will create for all Roadrunners.”
The school first started efforts toward becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution in 2017 when it created a task force to recruit and retain Latino students. In 2008, the school’s Latino population was 2,877, but that number has doubled since. In 2017, Metropolitan State University of Denver reached a 25 percent Latino population, and since then, it had been waiting for the federal processing of enrollment data and approval of the student income level exemption, according to a press release.
“Achieving (Hispanic Serving Institution) designation feels amazing, especially considering all the people and work that has been done to get us here,” said Angela Marquez, special assistant to the president for Hispanic Serving Institution. “To my knowledge, most institutions achieve status essentially by default, but our journey was very intentional and strategic.”
Magaly Sanchez De La Cruz is anticipating beginning her Master of Social work program at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is an example of the thousands of Latinx students who attends the school.
“Being a first-generation Hispanic student, I am proud to be graduating and continuing my graduate education at a university that is dedicated to helping Hispanic students like me,” the senior student said. “I am excited to hear and see the success of Latinx students in a diverse campus like Metropolitan State University of Denver.”
Nine other colleges in Colorado have Hispanic Serving Institution status.