With an upward sloping trend over the last decade, Goshen College has officially exceeded 25% Hispanic population for undergraduate enrollment and is well on its way to be deemed as a Hispanic-Serving Institution.
Ten years ago, GC’s undergraduate Hispanic population reached just over 5% of the total undergraduate enrollment.
Richard Aguirre, community impact coordinator for GC, credits this growth to many different goal-oriented initiatives put in place by the college.
“We achieved 25% Latino enrollment by providing easier access to a GC education through enhanced financial assistance and support programs, transforming our campus into an intercultural teaching and learning community and continually improving our efforts to recruit, retain and graduate Latino students,” he said.
Aguirre also says that this growth is reason to celebrate.
“Goshen College has made good on its promise of having an enrollment that reflects our community’s growing diversity and delivering a quality education to our increasingly diverse students,” he said. “All GC students have benefitted by attending a college that is providing them with an excellent education, which will prepare them well to thrive in a diverse world and increasingly intercultural workplaces.”
Dominique Burgunder-Johnson, vice president for marketing and enrollment, says the trend is promising for the future of GC.
“It is an important part of why I feel good about our enrollment now, and why I think we’ll continue to be in a good place as long as we maintain and sustain and grow relationships with those communities,” Burgunder-Johnson said.
Although the recent Hispanic enrollment numbers have reached 25%, a key benchmark for the college, there’s still work to be done in order to be eligible for recognition as an HSI.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, in order to attain the designation as an HSI, the full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment of undergraduate students must be at least 25% Hispanic.
Although the undergraduate total, part-time and full-time, reaches 25%, in its current state, GC has not reached this equivalent when it comes to FTE enrollment.
David Lind, professor of sociology and demographic transition researcher, explained this qualification further.
“Undergraduate FTE is defined as the number of full-time students plus the credit hours of part-time students divided by 12,” he said.
With anticipation that the college will achieve this mark in the near future, President Rebecca Stoltzfus is already beginning to look at future steps.
“We are considering the best ways to organize for the process of attaining the official designation,” President Stoltzfus said. “It is estimated to be around a two-year process.”
Once GC does reach this benchmark, an application will be submitted to the HSI program through the U.S. Department of Education in order to join the 415 institutions already eligible for HSI status.
With or without the designation, Aguirre says the implications of the changing demographics represents more than just a number for accreditation.
“We’re also benefiting our county and state by helping more Latinos realize their career and vocational goals,” he said.
With the Latinx community making up nearly 30% of the City of Goshen and nearly 55% of Goshen Community Schools, GC is trying to better reflect the community’s growing population.
“It’s clear that in order for Elkhart County and Indiana to thrive in the coming decades, we must continue to grow our population and workforce and produce more college graduates,” Aguirre said.