JJC Earns Hispanic-Serving Institution Designation from U.S. Department of Education

Joliet Junior College (JJC), the first public community college in the United States, proudly unveiled its official designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). This recognition, revealed during the April board meeting, marks a pivotal moment in the College's history.  

“With this designation, JJC reaffirms its commitment to bridging achievement gaps and cultivating responsive and inclusive learning environments,” said Dr. Clyne Namuo, JJC president. “As an HSI, Joliet Junior College stands poised to embark on a new chapter of excellence, empowerment and equitable student outcomes.”

For over 120 years, JJC has stayed true to its founding mission and core values of reducing barriers and providing programs that support student and community educational aspirations. The College’s mission and core values directly align with the intent of Hispanic-Serving Institutions, which is to “expand educational opportunities for, and improve the attainment of, Hispanic students.”

The U.S. Department of Education defines an HSI as an institution with an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students comprising at least 25% Hispanic students. JJC’s Hispanic enrollment has grown from 11.3% in fall 2000 to 34% in fall 2023, and such growth is expected to continue.    

“JJC does not want to be known as a HSI merely because it meets the 25% Hispanic enrollment requirement,” said Dr. Escortina Ervin, chief equity officer. “Instead, JJC wants to be known as a Hispanic serving institution that builds ‘confianza,’ or trusting relationships, while identifying and eliminating equity gaps.”

JJC is committed to the Hispanic community and the achievement of their educational goals and career aspirations by expanding educational opportunities for Hispanic students and their community. The HSI designation also enables JJC to seek more funding for programs that focus on Hispanic culture and language, benefiting students and parents.

Although the HSI designation is recent, the support systems and services cited are part of JJC’s long-standing commitment to its students and communities.  

“Through the HSI designation, the Department of Education has validated JJC’s practices, programs and initiatives as a welcoming institution that supports students, including its Latinx, first generation and socioeconomically marginalized communities,” said Dr. Ervin.  


For media requests please contact Katherine Smith, communications and media manager, at katherine.smith@jjc.edu or 815-280-2844. 

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