Higher Education Department Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week this September

Hispanic students represent nearly half of college enrollees and graduates in New Mexico 

 The New Mexico Higher Education Department celebrates the rich traditions of New Mexico’s Hispanic communities and their contributions at every level as it continues the commitment to empower Hispanic students and families through education this September in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month and Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week.  

“This Hispanic Heritage Month, during Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week, and year round, we are proud to celebrate the significant and unique contributions of New Mexico’s Hispanic students, graduates, faculty, and other professionals throughout higher education who support an enduring tradition of education, language, and culture,” Higher Education Cabinet Secretary Stephanie M. Rodriguez said. “Together with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and our higher education partners, we will continue to invest in programs like the Opportunity Scholarship, bilingual teacher training, and student resource centers to ensure equity for New Mexico’s students and families.” 

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year from September 15 to October 15 and pays tribute to the generations of Hispanics who have positively influenced our nation and society, while simultaneously acknowledging the challenges that they have had to overcome historically. Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week is celebrated from September 15-21 and recognizes the contributions of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in the United States. To be federally recognized as a HSI, colleges and universities must enroll at least a quarter of full-time Hispanic students.   

“Over 50 percent of New Mexico’s baccalaureate degrees are earned by Hispanic students from across the state. Using the federal recognition for higher education institutions, we can confidently say that New Mexico is a Hispanic-Serving State! It is not enough to enroll Hispanic students at a high number, we must be committed to a culture of servingness. For the well-being of individual students, their families, and for the benefit of having a highly prepared and credentialed workforce, we must support Hispanic students going to college and graduating,” said Higher Education Department Deputy Secretary Patricia Trujillo. 

Twenty-four of New Mexico’s colleges and universities are recognized as a HSI in New Mexico with San Juan College emerging as one as its population of Hispanic students increases. The New Mexico Higher Education Department actively works with HSIs to ensure that they not only enroll Hispanic students but serve them through targeted programs and supports to help first-generation students, English language learners, and others succeed and graduate.

While the majority of HSIs in the United States are located in urban areas, New Mexico serves a high proportion of rural communities and the unique populations of multigenerational descendants of Hispanic settlers over the past 400 years and recent immigrant families in the borderlands and across the state from Mexico as well as countries in Central and South America.  

In 2021, New Mexico public colleges and universities enrolled over 50,000 Hispanic students, making up 47 percent of all students. Over 12,600 students attained a degree or certificate representing 45 percent of graduates. Additionally, 60 percent of students benefitting from the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship last year identified as Hispanic. 

According to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, over 80 percent of HSIs are located in six states and one territory - California, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, Texas and Puerto Rico.  

You can learn more about Hispanic Serving Institutions via the interactive HSI Dashboard from ¡Excellencia! in Education here