Hispanic-Serving Institutions make up 17 percent of all U.S. public and nonprofit colleges—yet they enroll 67 percent of all Hispanic and Latino undergraduates.

That data, published in April, underscores the huge responsibility facing the country’s more than 500 Hispanic-Serving Institutions, so designated because at least a quarter of their students are Hispanic. More colleges will soon join their ranks, as enrollment of Hispanic and Latino students in higher education is expected to exceed 4.4 million students by 2025. Already, more than 300 colleges are classified as “emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions.”

As institutions seek and ultimately gain HSI status, their leaders must fully embrace the responsibility of being Hispanic-serving—not merely Hispanic-dwelling—institutions. Education is the catalyst for change and economic mobility in this country, and colleges must lead the fight to ensure that all students receive a quality education and are provided with an infrastructure from which to propel their lives, and ultimately the lives of their families.

As American civil rights activist Cesar Chavez said, “Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.”

Hispanic-Serving Institutions have the power to unlock that social change. To do so, they need strategic commitment to student success, economic equity and mobility, and inclusive excellence.

Read the full article about Hispanic-Serving Institutions by Mordecai I. Brownlee at EdSurge.