Marshalltown Community College is close to becoming a federally-designated Hispanic-Serving Institution.

Almost 24% of its student body identifies as Hispanic, and 25% is needed for the designation. MCC would be the first in Iowa to achieve that goal. Theresa Orlovsky teaches English as a Second Language and is on the school’s Spanish faculty.

Orlovsky says, “That would be such a good thing to remind our community that we’re here for them and that we are able to help them with specific needs that come with having a Hispanic or Latino identity.”

MCC Provost Robin Lilienthal says the designation would open up opportunities for more funding, but that’s not the ultimate goal. Lilienthal says, “Whether or not we ever actually become a Hispanic-Serving Institution is kind of not as important as the efforts and energy that we’re putting into serving our students and making it the best experience for them.”

MCC will find out if it will reach the federal designation next January. The school is now considered an “emerging” Hispanic-Serving Institution.

(By Kassidy Arena, Iowa Public Radio)