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NIFA Awards Help Colleges and Universities Serve Hispanic Students

Media Contact: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2010 – USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today awarded 31 grants to Hispanic-serving institutions (HSI) to enhance the ability of these colleges and universities to serve underserved students and develop a skilled work force.

“These awards will open the door for more students to do research, obtain internships, earn degrees and receive mentorship from peers and professionals. Some of these new graduates will choose careers that take advantage of opportunities in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and will serve the community at large by doing so,” said Roger Beachy, NIFA director. Currently, only half of college-age Hispanics, ages 16 to 24, are enrolled in either high school or college-degree programs in the United States.

In FY 2010, NIFA’s HSI Education grants program awarded approximately $8.8 million dollars to HSIs spanning six states and Puerto Rico. More than $800,000 of the total funding will go directly to student scholarships to help them complete their chosen degrees. These institutions have an average Hispanic undergraduate enrollment of 49 percent and are located in areas with the largest growing Hispanic communities in the country. This is NIFA’s 14th year of funding, with more than $52 million awarded to 224 projects at 80 institutions since the program’s inception.

As a nation, addressing education for this underrepresented section of the U.S. population is crucial, considering the Hispanic population continues to grow -- accounting for nearly half of the national population growth since 2000. With a median age of 27, almost 10 years younger than the national median age, the need for this population to receive an advanced education, training and experience is greater now so qualified candidates can be placed in jobs with higher earning potential and can be ready to replace the current work force.
           
Funding for the FY 2010 HSI Education grants program supports programs that seek to solve critical issues facing rural and urban America such as: global food security and hunger, climate change, sustainable energy, childhood obesity and food safety. These issues require the next generation to be trained in all aspects of agricultural science -- from research and education to application in the field – so that these conditions can be further improved and new discoveries can be made.

Fiscal Year 2010 awards HSI Education grants include:

  • West Hills College, Coalinga, Calif., $248,000
  • California State University, Fresno, Calif., $245,000
  • California State University, Fresno, Calif., $290,000
  • California State University, Los Angles, Calif., $290,000
  • California State University, Northridge, Calif., $285,000
  • University of California, Riverside, Calif., $290,000
  • California State University, San Marcos, Calif., $247,000
  • Rancho Santiago Community College, Santa Ana, Calif., $290,000
  • California State University, Stanislaus, Calif., $247,000
  • Otero Junior College, La Junta, Colo., $290,000
  • Florida International University, Miami, Fla., $290,000
  • Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, Ill., $290,000
  • Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, Ill., $248,000
  • University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M., $290,000
  • New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, N.M., $290,000
  • New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, N.M., $290,000
  • Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, N.M., $280,000
  • University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, $290,000
  • Sul Ross State University, Alpine, Texas, $290,000
  • St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas, $315,000
  • Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, Texas, $290,000
  • Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, Texas, $247,000
  • University of Texas, El Paso, Texas, $290,000
  • Houston Community College, Houston, Texas, $244,000
  • Houston Community College, Houston, Texas, $445,000
  • University of Houston, Houston, Texas, $247,000
  • Texas A&M University, Kingsville, Texas, $290,000
  • Texas A&M University, Kingsville, Texas, $290,000
  • Laredo Community College, Laredo, Texas, $291,568
  • University of Texas, San Antonio, Texas, $290,000
  • University of Texas, San Antonio, Texas, $290,000


Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. For more information, visit www.nifa.usda.gov.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).