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Mills College recognized for service to Hispanic students

A committee of faculty was set up to create programs to help Latinx students. (Denise Ruiz)
A committee of faculty was set up to create programs to help Latinx students. (Denise Ruiz)

For the first time in history, Mills has officially become a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).

According to this year’s Mills Facts and Trends report, 27 percent of the undergraduate student population identify as Latinx, making a jump from 24 percent in previous years. At least a quarter of the student population identifies as Latinx.  The U.S. Department of Education states that a school must meet the program-specific requirements to be defined as a Hispanic Serving Institution, which includes having at least 25 percent of the undergraduate student population identify as Latinx.

In light of the new report, the college will be given a grant to improve the attainment of Hispanic students. With this grant money, Mills will be able to fund programs like academic tutoring or counseling programs, faculty development, distance learning academic instruction, endowment funds, and student support services for first generation, and low income Hispanic students.

According to Alfredo Del Cid, assistant director for social justice resources at The Center, the College has commissioned a committee of faculty to come up with programs that will help the Latinx student.

“The new designation shows that Mills is committed to helping the Latinx students and the reputation of Mills will only get stronger”, Del Cid said.

Arely Zimmerman, faculty advisor for the Latinx Student Collective, formerly Mujeres Unidas, and coordinator of Latin Heritage Month (LHM),  points out that this increase of Latinx students at Mills is especially significant given the political and social context in which a major national figure like Donald Trump is running on an anti-Mexican, anti-Latinx and anti-immigrant platform.

In addition, Zimmerman notes that some of these students who are undocumented or come from mixed-status families are directly affected by federal and state anti-immigrant policies and find it difficult to get funding, scholarships and financial aid.

The news could not have come at a better time as Mills celebrates Latin Heritage Month mid-September through November. Mills LHM has grown from just a week long celebration to a month and half, which is more reflective of the current student body.