The State of Texas Hispanic-Serving Institutions: A Quantitative Look at Differences in State Funding, Institutional Expenditures, and Capital Space
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Background: Capital space is a critical element for institutions of higher education that historically has been responsive to institutional growth (Chapman, 2006) and significantly costly (Kaiser, 2018; Ness & Tandberg, 2013). While typically an overlooked facet in higher education (Strange & Banning, 2015), growth in capital space is instrumental in meeting both institutional needs and strategic enrollment state goals in Texas (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, 2016, 2018b). Also important to the state is increasing the collegiate success of its large and growing Latinx population, of which the majority are enrolled at institutions federally designated as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) (Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, 2019). However, despite HSIs being vulnerable to state funding influence (Núñez, Crisp, & Elizondo, 2016) and accounting for more than half of the state’s public four-year institutions (THECB, 2018a), Texas does not mention HSIs within their strategies nor funding model. Purpose/Research: The guiding questions for this study are whether Texas is providing equitable state financial support to its public four-year HSIs when compared to its public four-year non-HSIs and if state financial support reflects state-legitimized institutional expenditures and measures differently because of HSI designation. Guided by institutional isomorphism and resource dependence frames, the study also investigates the possibility of HSI designation influencing the relationship of state funding to institutional expenditures and metrics within the state-legitimized higher education context. Methods: The analysis used publicly-available institutional data for Texas public four-year institutions (n=36) for fiscal year 2017. It explored the effect of HSI designation on mean differences across legitimized institutional expenditures and measures, capital expenditures, and capital measures using one-way multivariate analyses of variance. The study also considered the effect of accountability groups alongside HSI designation on variances across the same outcome variable categories using two-way multivariate analyses of variance. Analyses using moderated hierarchical multiple regression examined the influence of HSI designation on the associations between specific state appropriations and institutional expenditures, legitimized measures, and capital growth-related outcomes. Findings: Findings revealed that appropriations, expenditures, and measures were not statistically dissimilar between Texas HSIs and non-HSIs. Instead, state-sanctioned accountability groups were indicative of institutional differences, specifically on tenured/tenure-track faculty numbers and predicted total square footage needs. HSI designation was also found to have a nonsignificant effect on any differences in the predictive relationships of state appropriation on institutional expenditures or measures. Nonetheless, state appropriations were found to be positively correlated with institutional operating and capital expenditures. Conclusion: This research highlights the significant role that institutional capital space can have on institutional funding, growth, and capability. It also studies the place of HSIs within state strategies and funding systems that do not explicitly recognize them. As a leading state in HSI representation that is focused on capital space, Texas is fertile grounds for gaining a better understanding of the interaction between these under-resourced institutions and state appropriations. Finally, it reinforces the important call for state governments to begin playing a bigger role in supporting public institutions of higher education designated as Hispanic-serving.