The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) was established in 1986 with a founding membership of eighteen institutions. Because of HACU’s exemplary leadership on behalf of the nation’s youngest and fastest-growing population, the Association rapidly grew in numbers and national impact.
Today, HACU represents more than 500 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain and U.S. school districts. Although our member institutions in the U.S. represent only 17% of all higher education institutions nationwide, together they are home to two-thirds of all Hispanic college students. HACU is the only national educational association that represents Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).
In 1992, HACU led the effort to convince Congress to formally recognize campuses with high Hispanic enrollment as federally designated HSIs and to begin targeting federal appropriations to those campuses. (Click here for more information about the differences between HACU's definition of HSIs and the federal definition of HSIs under Title V of the Higher Education Act.)
Soon after, HACU and its allies were instrumental in convincing Congress to appropriate money specifically for HSIs. For the first time ever, HSIs were granted $12 million in 1995 from federal resources. Since then, funding has increased significantly because of HACU’s persistent advocacy. In 2020, for example, $143.08 million were appropriated for the HSI undergraduate program under Title V Part A of the Higher Education Act. HACU has recommended $170 million be appropriated for fiscal year 2021.
Our nation's economic and social success rests on the level of skills and knowledge attained by Hispanics, now the nation's largest minority population. Education is indisputably the key. HACU is committed to Hispanic success in education, from kindergarten through graduate school and into the workforce of tomorrow. Everyone has a stake in HACU’s crucial goals: to promote the development of member colleges and universities; to improve access to and the quality of postsecondary educational opportunities for Hispanic students; and to meet the needs of business, industry and government through the development and sharing of resources, information and expertise.
With the help of HACU’s Office of Government Relations in Washington, D.C., HACU maintains more than 30 formal Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and Partnership Agreements with federal agencies, offices, and business organizations. HACU also provides assistance and outreach to HSIs by hosting technical assistance workshops throughout the country on available federal program grants and other resources. The HACU National Internship Program also operates out of the Washington, DC, office and places more than 450 student interns each year with corporations and federal agencies in Washington and field offices around the country.
HACU's Western Regional Office in Sacramento, California, offers support for state level advocacy and program work in the western United States. Additional regional offices are being planned for the future.
HACU’s Office of Policy Analysis and Information conducts policy analyses and research on issues affecting Hispanic higher educational success and HSIs. The Office of Student Services manages the Corporate Internship program, the Annual Conference Student Track, the HACU Scholarship program, and several capacity-building partnerships.
HACU’s conferences and special events each year provide a vital platform for advocacy, information, collaboration, and recognition. These events include the National Capitol Forum on Hispanic Higher Education each spring in Washington, D.C., and HACU’s Annual Conference. Student participation has been an important new dimension in recent years. HACU also hosts a biennial International Conference.
Thousands of young Hispanics benefit from HACU's internships, scholarships, college retention and advancement programs, pre-collegiate support, and career development opportunities and programs. We truly are the champions of Hispanic success in higher education.