Georgia Gwinnett College earns federal designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution 

Gaby Sifuentes

Psychology major Gaby Sifuentes said she was attracted to GGC because of feedback she received about its welcoming environment toward people who look like her. Sifuentes is president of the schools’ Organization for Latin American Students.  

Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education. GGC is one of just two University System of Georgia (USG) institutions in the state that has achieved HSI status.

To achieve the HSI designation, eligible schools must be accredited two- or four-year degree-granting institutions, enroll a significant number of students requiring needs-based federal assistance and maintain at least a 25% full-time Hispanic student enrollment. 

The number of Hispanic students has steadily increased at GGC over the past several years. The school reported Hispanic enrollment at 26% as of fall 2021. Preliminary numbers, which are subject to verification by the USG later this fall, indicate that Hispanic student enrollment at GGC rose another percentage point in fall 2022.

“We are proud of the diversity and inclusive environment that makes our campus unique,” said GGC President Jann L. Joseph. “This milestone recognizes the work GGC has done and will continue to do to create a successful academic experience for our students.”

According to the Department of Education, about 4.2 million students were enrolled at more than 450 HSIs in the U.S. The HSI designation allows colleges to pursue additional funding through the Higher Education Act to further support Hispanic students and programs on campus.

The designation is no surprise to Gaby Sifuentes, 19, of Buford. A sophomore who studies psychology at GGC, Sifuentes said she was attracted to the school because of feedback she received about its welcoming environment toward people who look like her.

“I heard the Latino community at GGC was larger in number than most colleges,” she said. “So I thought, ‘ok, maybe I’ll fit in.’”

Sifuentes has taken advantage of the resources GGC offers. As president of the schools’ Organization for Latin American Students (OLAS) and a member of GGC’s Hispanic Achievers Committed to Excellence in Results (HACER) living-learning community, Sifuentes participates in scholarship roundtables, leadership seminars and career presentations – all designed to support students in school and beyond. 

“The resources available, particularly through OLAS and HACER, have been super helpful and beneficial,” she said. “It’s just a matter of trying to plug yourself in. And that’s easy to do at GGC.”

Joseph said that diversity and inclusion are part of the school’s DNA. Any additional federal funding afforded by HSI status, she said, will not only support Hispanic students, but it will bolster the entire GGC community.

 “GGC has been recognized year after year as the most ethnically diverse Southern regional college. All students will benefit from resources gained through additional funding,” she said. “This will strengthen existing and future initiatives and benefit all aspects of the institution.

GGC’s 2022 HSI designation will allow the school to apply for additional federal funding in fiscal year 2023.

Return to News and Events

View our News Archive by Year