Rock Valley College Earns the Designation of Hispanic Serving Institution

In recognition of its commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, Rock Valley College (RVC) has been designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI)* by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).


Graduates celebrating during the Hispanic Heritage Ceremony in May, 2023.

This prestigious designation is given to institutions where Hispanic students make up over 25% of the total enrollment. RVC is proud to serve a student body that reflects the rich diversity of its district.

With this recognition, RVC joins the ranks of 34 HSIs in Illinois, half of which are community colleges. This achievement underscores RVC's dedication to providing equitable access to quality education for all students, regardless of background or ethnicity. The designation not only validates the college's efforts but also highlights the importance of fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment where every student in the stateline area can learn, work, and grow.

Dr. Howard Spearman, President of Rock Valley College, expressed his pride in achieving this milestone, stating, "Being recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution is a testament to our ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. At RVC, we believe that diversity enriches the educational experience and prepares our students for success in an increasingly interconnected world."

Beginning in 1992, the U.S. Department of Education, with assistance from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), partnered together to create a program for higher education institutions that specifically served the Hispanic population. The goal was to help increase the economic, academic, and social success of the United States’ largest ethnic minority group.

The designation of HSI is not merely symbolic; it comes with tangible benefits for the college and its students. Keith Barnes, Chief Diversity Officer at RVC, explained, "This designation opens up opportunities for additional funding and resources to support programs and initiatives that promote student success, particularly for our Hispanic student population. More importantly, It also underscores our responsibility to ensure that all students feel valued and supported along with a sincere sense of belonging at RVC.”

For institutions like RVC, the HSI designation holds particular significance. It reflects the demographic shifts occurring in many urban areas across the United States, where Hispanic communities are growing rapidly. By embracing diversity and becoming an HSI, RVC is better positioned to meet the needs of its diverse student body and address the unique challenges they may face.

RVC’s designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution is a testament to its dedication to providing accessible and inclusive education to all students. As it continues to embrace diversity and strive for excellence, RVC serves as a model for other institutions seeking to create a more equitable and welcoming learning environment for all students.

*Based on data from the 2022-2023 academic year