Title III of the Higher Education Act (HEA) is the main source of institutional level funding in HEA, primarily supporting minority-serving colleges. Title III authorizes the Hispanic Serving Institutions Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics and Articulation Program (HSI STEM). An institution is categorized as an HSI if at least 25 percent of the full time undergraduate students are Latino. As of the 2016-2017 school year, HSIs include 65 percent of Latino undergraduate students and 15 percent of colleges and universities across the country, and these number will continue to increase.
This piece of HEA has two goals: the first is to increase attainment of STEM degrees and the second is to create a model transfer and articulation agreement for STEM degrees between two- and four-year institutions. Appropriations for this program are mandatory through FY2019. Funding can be utilized for purposes such as:
- “Improving academic quality of STEM programs through curriculum revision and development, or faculty development;
- Developing research opportunities for students in STEM fields;
- Providing or improving student services including counseling, tutoring, mentoring or establishing learning communities;
- Encouraging secondary students to pursue STEM degrees and careers through outreach activities; and
- Improving STEM facilities and equipment needed for science instruction and computer laboratories.”
A great example of how this has been implemented is the Laredo Community College in Texas, which developed its STEM Articulation and Summer Bridge program through the HSI STEM grant. The STEM articulation program supports learners interested in STEM in both the college enrollment process, as well as successfully navigating the two to four year transfer. This program includes a Summer Bridge component, which provides incoming college students with advisement on everything from what to expect academically to the interpersonal skills that will be required. Learners in this program graduated at twice the rate of the college’s overall graduation rate.
Meredith Hills, Policy Associate