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Hispanic-Serving Institution Opportunities

In 2018, the University of Arizona was federally designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and is actively engaged in work to ensure that the university maximizes all opportunities associated with this designation.  In the Fall 2016 cohort, Hispanic students accounted for 27.6% and 16.9% respectively of the total undergraduate and graduate student population. Efforts to support increased enrollment among diverse student populations has resulted in Hispanic undergraduate enrollment increasing from 6,957 in 2010 to 10,729 in 2018.  Institutional commitment far exceeds simply enrolling a greater number of diverse students. Such commitment manifests in several ways and is reflected throughout the pillars of the University of Arizona's Strategic Plan.  For example, the retention rate of the 2018 cohort of first-time, full-time Hispanic freshmen was 81.3%, just under the the overall UA retention rate of 83.2%. Further UA has increased the number of Hispanics who earned a bachelor's degree by 126% since 2000. UA's R1 status is a distinctive asset for envisioning a larger regional scope of Hispanic research engagement, within UA and its neighboring institutions (two-year and four-year). 

Building on the HSI designation, Research Development Services is collaborating with the Assistant Vice Provost for Hispanic Serving Institution Initiatives and the Office of Societal Impact to:

  1. Provide faculty support that stimulates greater engagement in HSI-related research activities and program development;
  2. Solidify a high level of institutional support that fosters and facilitates HSI-relevant work; and
  3. Strengthen operations of efficiency and strategic collaborations with internal and external partners to support HSI-relevant work.

UA joins 133 four-year public institutions, is one of four Association of American Universities (AAU), and one of eleven "R1" or "doctoral universities - high research activity"  that is also a HSI. The HSI designation requires an annual application to determine the current eligibility of the institution. HSI is currently the UA’s sole US Department of Education Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) designation. Based on the HSI designation, UA faculty, staff, and students are eligible to apply for a number of HSI, and select MSI grants, internships, and partnerships.  Each funding agency and funding opportunity has specific eligibility requirements, and some opportunities are limited by the solicitation. For general information or details about specific opportunities, inquiries may be directed to Research Development Services at

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Funding Opportunities

While UA is now eligible for several funding opportunities that are limited to HSIs and other minority-serving institutions, in addition, a broad spectrum of funding opportunities exist to conduct research and implement programs that examine and address the issues related to equitably serving nontraditional students (i.e., underrepresented minorities, people with disabilities, LBGQT+, veterans, women, and low-income students.) UA has a vested interest in increasing research activities and program development around efforts relevant to the HSI mission of supporting access, degree attainment, and new knowledge generation for the equitable education for nontraditional students. 

Relevant Funding Opportunities for Faculty & Staff:

Department of Agriculture

Department of Commerce (No current funding, last competition 2016)

Department of Defense

Department of Education

Department of Energy

Department of Homeland Security

Department of the Interior

Department of Justice

Department of State

Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

National Endowment for the Humanities

National Science Foundation

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

U.S. Agency for International Development

Funding Opportunities for Students:

Department of Agriculture

Department of Energy

Department of Homeland Security

Department of Transportation

Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

HSI-relevant Issues to be Addressed Through Research & Program Development

In November 2017, UA was the first of 11 colleges and universities to host a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded working conference (award #1748526) to inform NSF’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: HSI program.  Findings from the conference, with a regional focus on the Southwest US, indicate a number of issues that institutions serving large numbers of underrepresented minorities and low-income students need to address for educational equity. The following major themes and critical focus areas emerged from the analysis of the conference, and are elaborated on in the resulting publication, Transforming STEM Education in Hispanic Serving Institutions in the United States. The list below represents just some of the opportunities for research and program development around the HSI mission. A selection of identified funding opportunities that can support these initiatives follow.

Advising, Mentoring, and Nonacademic Support Systems

1. Advising and mentoring systems are haphazard in focus and goals, and lack alignment with student needs

2. Non-academic support systems focused on family and community are key for equitable STEM success, yet severely underdeveloped

STEM Academic Structure and Related Support Systems

1. STEM major structure and availability of top-tier curricular offerings are inequitably designed for the success of non-traditional students

2. Academic support systems focused on STEM rigor and math readiness are not sufficient to support underrepresented minorities (URMs) and non-traditional students

Evidence Based Pedagogies

1. Evidence Based Pedagogies (EBPs), known to improve STEM achievement for diverse learners, are unevenly practiced across institutions

2. Where diverse EBPs are deployed in good numbers, scalability is behind

Equity, Diversity, and Culturally Responsive Practices

1. Culturally Responsive Practices (CRPs), known to enable and sustain academic interest and access for the students HSIs aim to serve, are unevenly understood and practiced at HSIs

2. Where some CRPs exist, they are often non-STEM specific

3. CRPs are perceived as tangential to the core academic mission

Research Experiences and High Impact Practices

1. High Impact Practices (HIPs) at HSIs are culturally isolated and not sufficiently inclusive

2. Resources at Research 1 (R1) HSIs are mostly inward-facing and not purposefully shared among co-located institutions and communities

Serving Hispanic Students at HSIs

1. Extramurally funded STEM programs are underutilized by the students HSIs seek to serve

2. Retention, persistence, and success are core charges of HSIs and their faculties, not just student responsibilities

Hispanic Serving Institution 

As defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965, a Hispanic-Serving Institution meets two primary criteria: 1) Is an eligible institution (see definition below); AND 2) has an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic students at the end of the award year immediately preceding date of the application.

The term eligible institution  includes the following qualifying components: 1) is an institution of higher education; 2) meets a prescribed threshold of enrollment of students with high financial need; and 3) the average educational and general expenditures of the institution are low, per full-time equivalent undergraduate student, in comparison with the average educational and general expenditures per full-time equivalent undergraduate student of institutions that offer similar instruction. For purposes of the determination of whether an institution is an eligible institution under this definition, the enrollment of needy students is given twice the weight of the educational and general expenditures. If conditions 2 and 3 above are not met naturally, as is the case with UA, the institution can apply for waivers of those conditions. The waivers include substantial documentation demonstrating the commitment of the institution to serving low-income students.

Further, the institution must be legally authorized to provide, and provides within the State, an educational program for which the institution awards a bachelor’s degree, or is a junior or community college, that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined to be reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or that is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation.

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