To enhance the quality of undergraduate STEM education at Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), the National Science Foundation (NSF) established the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education:
Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI Program), in response to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (P.L.
and the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (P.L.
The HSI Program seeks to increase the retention and graduation rates of students pursuing associate or baccalaureate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
In designing the HSI Program, NSF has sought community input in a variety of ways that included releasing a Dear Colleague Letter (<a href="https://nsf.gov/pubs/2017/nsf17092/nsf1709 2. jsp">https://nsf.gov/pubs/2017/nsf17092/nsf1709 2. jsp</a>), awarding conference grants to seek stakeholder input, establishing and holding a meeting of the Building Capacity at Hispanic-Serving Institutions Subcommittee (HSI Subcommittee) of the Education and Human Resources (EHR) Advisory Committee, and conducting three virtual listening sessions that invited commentary from members of the HSI community (<a href="https://nsf.gov/ehr/HSIProgramPlan.jsp">https://nsf.gov/ehr/HSIProgramPlan.jsp</a>).
To focus the comments from the three virtual meetings, five priority areas earlier identified in a listening session conducted in 2009 by the Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network were used:
(1) Student support; (2) Faculty support; (3) STEM curricula enhancement and alignment; (4) Integration of research and education; and (5) Partnerships.
Based on the feedback from these listening sessions and from the HSI Subcommittee report (<a href="https://www.nsf.gov/ehr/Materials/HSISubcommitteeReport.pdf">https://www.nsf.gov/ehr/Materials/HSISubcommitteeReport.pdf</a>), NSF developed a program solicitation to guide the initial focus of the HSI Program.
NSF will continue to gather community input from funded HSI conferences to inform future components of, or modifications to, the HSI Program.
The HSI Program seeks to enhance the quality of undergraduate STEM education at HSIs and to increase retention and graduation rates of undergraduate students pursuing degrees in STEM fields at HSIs.
In addition, the HSI Program seeks to build capacity at HSIs that typically do not receive high levels of NSF grant funding.
The HSI Program is aligned with NSF’s commitment to increase access for underrepresented groups to the Nation’s STEM enterprise.
For the purpose of the HSI Program, an eligible institution is the institution serving as the fiscal agent that must, at the time of application, be accredited, offer undergraduate educational programs in STEM, and satisfy the HSI definition as specified in section 502 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C.
1101a), i.e., a) be an eligible institution; and b) have an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic students.
Institutions should review the legislation before certifying their eligibility to this program [<a href="http://legcounsel.house.gov/Comps/HEA65_CMD.pdf">http://legcounsel.house.gov/Comps/HEA65_CMD.pdf</a>].
The HSI Program supports standard and continuing grants that will:
<ul> <li>Develop, implement, and test models for the retention of students advancing from lower-division courses to upper-division STEM coursework, including those transferring from a two-year to a four-year institution.</li> <li>Create evidence-based and evidence-generating approaches that increase the graduation rates of students pursuing STEM associate or baccalaureate degrees at HSIs.</li> <li>Enhance research that improves understanding of how to build faculty capacity and student opportunities to conduct STEM research or STEM educational research at HSIs through partnerships with other HSIs and organizations (e.g., federal laboratories, research centers, industrial or business organizations, non-profit entities, etc.).</li> <li>Increase knowledge about evidence-based approaches to engaged student learning and how to broaden the participation of undergraduate students majoring in STEM disciplines at HSIs.</li> </ul> Towards these ends, the HSI Program will accept proposals in two tracks:
(1) Building Capacity and (2) HSIs New to NSF.
The Building Capacity track funds projects from $500K to $ 1. 5M for up to 5 years and is open to all eligible institutions and has three priority areas:
Critical Transitions;Innovative Cross-Sector Partnerships; and Research on Broadening Participation in STEM.
The HSIs New to NSF track funds projects up to $250K for up to 3 years and is open only to eligible institutions that have never received NSF funding, or that have not received NSF funding in the five years preceding the proposal deadline.
The HSI Program will also fund one Resource Hub project up to $3M for up to five years.
The Resource Hub will support the needs of HSIs with little or no prior NSF funding, such as assistance with proposal writing and financial compliance.
In addition, the Resource Hub will facilitate networking and professional development that build and strengthen collaborations among HSIs.