ASU Receives $629,968 Education Grant as Hispanic Serving Institution
September 29, 2010
The first year of the five-year grant, funded under the Education Department’s Strengthening Institutions-Hispanic Serving Institutions Program, will be awarded for the federal fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. At present funding levels, the grant will total almost $3.15 million when it is completed in 2015.
U.S. Representative Mike Conaway of the 11th Congressional District of Texas announced the grant. The funds will be used to improve retention and graduation rates among Hispanic and other students by enhancing the academic and educational support programs at ASU. Programs funded through the HSI grant will be open to all ASU students.
“As the largest Department of Education grant in the history of the university,” said ASU President Joseph C. Rallo, “this is certainly a milestone for Angelo State. More importantly, this grant will directly benefit our undergraduate students, more than half of whom are first-generation college students, by strengthening our retention programs.”
ASU is the first institution in the Texas Tech University System (TTUS) to receive HSI status and a grant under the program.
“Achieving Hispanic Serving Institution status is a historic accomplishment for Angelo State as we pursue our goals of increasing diversity and promoting student success,” said TTUS Chancellor Kent Hance. “With the significant growth of the Hispanic population in the state, this designation and subsequent funding will allow us continued leadership in higher education as the face of Texas changes.”
Project director for the grant is Joe Muñoz, assistant to the president for multicultural initiatives. He said the project will address barriers to completing a college education and will implement programs to strengthen developmental education in English and math; to enhance tutoring and learning support; to increase student engagement; to strengthen student advisement; to broaden support for faculty and staff in diversity, teaching and learning; and to broaden outreach to area high schools and communities.
“While ASU has been strengthening programs in all of these areas over the last two years,” said Muñoz, “the grant will provide additional resources to expedite the success of these initiatives and better serve all of our students in the long run. Not only that, the grant will also give us the resources to reach out to students as early as high school to help support their college ambitions.”
ASU’s Hispanic enrollment last fall stood at 25.08 percent, qualifying the university to apply for HSI status. Achieving HSI status has been a strategic goal for ASU for the last three years. Once Hispanics total a minimum of 25 percent of the undergraduate enrollment, an institution of higher education is able to apply for the HSI designation from the federal government. The application is the first part of a two-part process that looks at Hispanic enrollment and student participation in need-based financial aid programs.
Under the second part of the application process, at least 50 percent of students must then receive need-based assistance or a substantial percentage of them receive Federal Pell grants for a university to qualify for HSI status. ASU has consistently met those financial aid requirements. Once institutions are granted HSI status, they become eligible for additional federal dollars to support their educational mission and provide programs for all the university’s students, regardless of their ethnicity.