Over $4M to go to NM colleges to improve educational opportunities for Hispanic students

The New Mexico Delegation announced Wednesday that seven New Mexico colleges and universities will receive over $4.1 million in grants to expand and improve educational opportunities for Hispanic students.

According to a news release, the Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program provides grants to assist universities to expand educational opportunities for, and improve the attainment of, Hispanic students while also allowing HSIs to expand and enhance their academic offerings, program quality, and institutional stability.

According to the same news release the combined $4,167,623 will fund the following HSI New Mexico Programs:

  • Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell (ENMU-R), first installment of a five-year annual grant of $600,000-ENMU-R will use the grant award to improve the successful outcomes, retention, graduation, and transfer for Hispanic and low-income students who face institutional barriers. The university will invest the funds in improving English and math instruction, student support and staff professional development.
  • New Mexico State University – Alamogordo Community College (NMSU-A), first installment of a five-year annual grant of $600,000-NMSU-A is a community college in Otero County, serving over 1500 students with affordable post-secondary education. NMSU-A will use the grant funding to improve student recruitment, completion and transfer to four-year institutions. The college will invest funds in developing an “intrusive advising” program that actively mentors students through the completion of their postsecondary education and purchase software to focus on further professional development opportunities. NMSU-A also plans to expand collaboration programs with businesses in the local community to facilitate workforce entry while also investing in financial literacy program options for students to build a successful financial future.
  • New Mexico Highlands University, first installment of a five-year annual grant of $600,000– Highlands will use the grant funds to increase student recruitment and retention by developing a pilot program in the university’s signature Facundo Valdez School of Social Work (FVSSW). The initiative will employ pedagogical “active learning” strategies while implementing mentoring and advising programs to help students remain enrolled and succeed in their classes. Highlands will also develop an aggressive community outreach program with social media content coupled with strategic relationships with regional community colleges and secondary schools with high enrollments of Hispanic and low-income students that focuses on career and research opportunities.
  • University of New Mexico-Los Alamos (UNM-LA), first installment of a five-year annual grant of $600,000-UNM-LA will use the new grant funding to develop the PASE (Pathways to Academic Success and Excellence for Hispanic and Low-income Students) program. The initiative is designed to address the structural inequalities causing many Hispanic and low-income students to lack access to high-quality math and English classes at the secondary level with the overall goal of increasing the retention and graduation rates. To address these needs, UNM-LA plans to invest the grant funds to enhance student support services and increase the percentage of faculty and staff participating in culturally responsive professional development activities.
  • Northern New Mexico College (Northern) first installment of a five-year annual grant of $592,678-Northern will use the grant to develop the Fast Track to Finish (F2F) program to increase Hispanic and low-income student recruitment and retention. The key mechanisms for greater student success and offer career-aligned guided pathways, meta majors, co-requisite course structures, case management advising, expanded online education and financial literacy. The funds will assist Northern in providing continuous professional development for all personnel associated with the college by offering a year-round calendar of training activities, including using student success data and the adoption of new learning systems and methods to improve student – learning and student services outcomes.
  • Clovis Community College, second installment of a five-year annual grant of $599,850-Clovis Community College, an eastern New Mexico two-year college serving primarily Hispanic, low-income, first-generation and female students, is using grant funding to address the area’s need for high-quality K-12 educators, especially in STEM fields. The college developed its Partnership for Teacher Preparation program creating a pipeline to connect students enrolled in the college’s Early College High School with those who are currently employed in our school districts, tracks them through a 2+2 arrangement with our 4-year partner university, and ends with a first-year mentorship in local school districts. The program also offers personal financial literacy workshops, the purchase of FAFSA verification software to allow for procedure redesign, FAFSA workshop expansion, K12 district partnerships for scholarships, and student career development and earnings potential evaluations.
  • University of New Mexico–Valencia (UNM-V), the second installment of annual $599,000 of five-year annual grant-This year’s annual grant will fund UNM-V’s PASOS (Pathways to Articulation and Sustainable Opportunities for Students) program, a comprehensive initiative to streamline and target services to expand the number of Hispanic and low-income students attaining a postsecondary degree by developing a pipeline to the community to reach out to students with some college. The PASOS program aims to increase the first-to-second year retention and graduation rates of Hispanic and low-income students.

Responses from the New Mexico Delegation on the announcement:

“All New Mexico students should be able to access the benefits of higher education,” said U.S Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “As our state’s future leaders, we must support their education and professional development while recognizing and honoring their backgrounds and identities. Especially as students in New Mexico and across the country grapple with a new learning environment, this continued funding for Hispanic Serving Institutions is vital to help New Mexico colleges and universities include and empower all students seeking better opportunities.”

“We need to keep expanding access to higher education for students from all backgrounds,” said U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.). “That is why I am proud to support this funding that will allow Hispanic-Serving institutions in New Mexico to continue improving educational opportunities for Hispanic students. I will always fight for equality in our learning systems and support programs at New Mexico’s institutions of higher-learning that equip tomorrow’s leaders with every tool for success.”

“New Mexico colleges and universities open the door for students across our state to pursue their dreams. I am proud that Hispanic Serving Institutions in New Mexico will be awarded $4.1 million to improve educational opportunities for Hispanic students and increase their educational attainment,” said U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.). “During this pandemic and always, it’s crucial that all students in New Mexico feel supported and have the resources they need to succeed.”

“Higher education can be the key to unlocking doors to opportunity and ending cycles of poverty, but there are countless barriers and challenges that students face to attend a university and stay in school. When I was a student, there were many times that I needed support from my peers who had similar life experiences and cultural backgrounds. It’s why the Hispanic Serving Institutions in New Mexico are so important. Though I’m still paying off my student loans, the education I received at UNM helped me realize more than I ever knew was possible. These grants from the Department of Education will ensure Hispanic students have what they need to thrive at colleges throughout New Mexico and achieve success beyond their college years,” said U.S. Representative Deb Haaland (D-N.M.).

“Investing in our students’ futures and supporting their growth takes on a renewed importance as education changes to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m proud to share Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, New Mexico State University- Alamogordo, and University of New Mexico-Valencia will receive funding to invest in the academic and professional development of Hispanic students. It’s critical we continue to improve access to higher education, ensure students have every tool needed to succeed, and expand opportunities for New Mexicans across the state,” said U.S. Representative Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.).