Since 2019, Metropolitan State University of Denver has proudly held the title of Hispanic-Serving Institution, a federal designation by the U.S. Department of Education. 

To achieve this status, an institution must meet the following criteria: 

  • At least 25% of total undergraduate, full-time-equivalent students identify as Hispanic/ Latina/o/x.  
  • At least 50% of students receive federal need-based aid. 
  • Core expenses per FTE are lower than the average institutional peer group.

As a result of the federal designation, HSIs are eligible to competitively apply for federal grants aimed at supporting them. 

Being an HSI is about more than just enrollment at MSU Denver; it is also about the institution’s commitment to serving students. Using the Multidimensional Framework of Servingness defined by Garcia, Núñez and Sansone (2019), indicators and structures for serving and servingness in practice are the tenets that guide MSU Denver in its goal to become a model HSI. In practice, MSU Denver identifies servingness as an intentional transition of organizational structures through use of resources and programming. MSU Denver will learn with and from existing model HSIs to implement promising practices of servingness. 

Servingness in action 

Since 2007, the University has focused its efforts to strategically focus on the success of Latina/o/x students through various academic and nonacademic programs and practices. MSU Denver has strived to achieve an organizational structure that has strong outcomes as well as a culture that reflects Latina/o/x heritage.  

Indicators of servingness at MSU Denver are seen throughout the campus, notably in the Chicana/o Studies Department, the College Assistance Migrant Program, the Immigrant Services Program and the Brother to Brother Program to name a few. Each of these programs is centered on promoting cultural heritage and identity, community and leadership while strategically working to increase academic outcomes for students of color.  

Organizational structures of servingness at MSU Denver continue to evolve through the creation and implementation of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council as well as the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Faculty Fellowship Program to provide expertise in the scholarship of DEI and HSI work. MSU Denver has additionally been committed to learning from model HSIs for years, as seen through the most recent Higher Education Diversity Summit, which focused on critically leaning into HSI servingness, and partnerships with many local organizations and Minority-Serving Institutions across the country.