Obama declares National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week

President Barack Obama proclaimed September 12 through September 18, 2016 National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week.

"This week, we reflect on how these important institutions have helped Hispanic students reach for their dreams, and we reaffirm our commitment to supporting them for generations to come," the proclamation reads. "Hispanics are the largest and fastest growing minority group in America, and we must keep striving to ensure they can pursue an exceptional education."

A Hispanic-Serving Institution, or HSI, is a college or university where at least 25 percent of its student body is Latino. In the U.S., 435 institutions are classified as HSIs. Additionally, 310 schools qualify as "emerging HSIs," which have Latino populations between 15 and 24 percent.

A majority of U.S. Latino students attended HSIs in the 2014-2015 academic year, according to a study by Excelencia in Education, an organization tracking Latino college enrollment. The total number of HSIs increased by 7 percent in 18 states.

Official portrait of President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 13, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza)

"For generations, HSIs have helped Hispanics earn college degrees, seek meaningful careers, and aspire to be anything they want. At the heart of our nation is the idea that no matter where you come from or what you look like, if you are willing to work hard, you can make it in America," says the proclamation.

More than 6-in-10 Latino students attend colleges and universities with large Hispanic populations. In the U.S., 13 percent of colleges and universities are HSIs.

 
NBC News

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