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Hispanic and Latino enrollment is growing at CU Denver, Colorado's first research university to receive HSI status

A ground-level view of a building on CU Denver's campus from across the street. A car is stopped at a stoplight on the intersection of Speer Boulevard and Larimer Street.
Scott McLeod
CU Denver has been named a Hispanic-serving institution by the U.S. Department of Education, making it the first research institution in Colorado with that status.

More than one in five Coloradans identifies as Hispanic or Latino, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As that population continues to grow in our state, so does their college enrollment. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics show that, nationwide, Hispanic or Latino college enrollment rates increased from 22% in the year 2000 to 36% in 2018.

And this increased enrollment in Colorado over the last two decades has led to several two-year and four-year schools becoming Hispanic-serving institutions, a designation from the U.S. Department of Education that allows schools to expand educational opportunities for both current and prospective Hispanic or Latino students.

The latest school in Colorado to receive this designation is the University of Colorado Denver, notably making it the first research university in Colorado to attain the status.

For more on the school’s journey to this point, and what the recent recognition will mean for the future, Colorado Edition’s Henry Zimmerman spoke with Antonio Farias, vice chancellor of diversity, equity and inclusion at CU Denver; and Chris Hilton, a third-year student in CU Denver’s Public Health program who also serves as student body president and as a student representative to the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

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I host and produce KUNC’s in-depth, regional newsmagazine Colorado Edition, which has me searching across our state for peculiar and impactful stories to bring to listeners, always with a focus on empowering the people who hear our show and speaking through them to our guests. I am also a big nerd about field recording and audio editing, my dedication to which I hope serves our listeners who care about audio as much as I do.