Federal Funds Help Institutions that Help Hispanics
“To be honest I am seeking any opportunities where I myself can apply and have some financial aid help to finish my college education. However, I love to inspire students that education is something wonderful, sometimes difficult, but not impossible. I am a good example of that. I just hope that now that I am so close to the end I don't have to quit school because of lack of financial aid.”
USC, B.S. Business Administration
Over the past two years, the Obama administration has demonstrated a strong commitment to improving educational opportunities for Hispanic Americans. The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans brings together many government agencies with the goal of increasing Hispanic participation in federal education programs. One important program is the U.S. Department of Education’s Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (PPOHA) Program.
This program’s focus is twofold: to expand postbaccalaureate opportunities for Hispanic students and to enhance the program quality in institutions of higher learning that have large Hispanic student populations. The program currently funds 22 U.S. institutions with grants no higher than $575,000 per year for 5 years. Institutions may apply for the awards and must have “in addition to basic eligibility requirements … at least 25 percent enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent (FTE) Hispanic students at the end of the award year immediately preceding the date of application.” The 22 institutions that were funded in 2009 can be found here: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/ppoha/index.html.
The Department of Education also recently initiated the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program, which “provides grants to assist HSIs to expand educational opportunities for, and improve the attainment of, Hispanic students, including helping to expand academic offerings, program quality, and institutional stability.”
While these and the PPOHA federal dollars are directed to academic institutions and not individual students, it’s important to note the areas of funding, including facility capital improvements, faculty development, education materials, tutoring and counseling programs, endowment funds, distant learning instruction, teacher education, and student support services. Additionally, PPOHA-funded institutions can also use the award to support “low-income postbaccalaureate students including outreach, academic support services, mentoring, scholarships, fellowships, and other financial assistance to permit the enrollment of such students in postbaccalaureate certificate and postbaccalaureate degree-granting programs.”
HSF and other Hispanic students can take advantage of these programs’ many benefits. Because these institutions have a demonstrated commitment to Hispanic higher education and have the federal funding to back up the commitment, you might want to research ones that might be a good fit for your academic and career objectives. For instance, many HSF alumni have expressed the need for career guidance and extra help with their PhD program. These funded institutions are likely to provide enhanced support services to address these needs.
One of the consistent comments we get from alumni is the desire to give back. One alumnus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, noted: “I just want to help create change and help the younger generations become the new leaders of tomorrow. I want to help create change with positive influences.” Our HSF alumni network helps make other Hispanic students’ dreams for a higher education come true.
Another way HSF students and alumni can leverage these funded institutions is by starting an HSF Scholar Chapter. HSF has partnered with 32 universities across the country to set up Scholar Chapters that support Latino students throughout their academic careers. Currently, we have Chapters on several California State University campuses, including CSU Fresno, Fullerton and San Bernardino. There are other PPOHA award recipients without chapters. So, for example, if you’re a student or alumnus of one of these campuses, you’re likely to get good support in establishing a Chapter that will serve many other Hispanic students. This is a great way to give back and impact the future.