Latino and low-income students at UCLA must ensure the campus administration applies for the university to become a Hispanic-serving institution.
The U.S. Department of Education defines an HSI as an institution that has an enrollment of undergraduate full-time students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic. Qualifying as an HSI means that UCLA would be eligible to receive federal funding to support the academic success of Hispanic and low-income students. During the 2016 fiscal year, the HSI grant awarded about $92 million to 91 qualifying institutions, with the grant focused on improving academic quality and providing opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and math fields for these students.
21.3 percent of UCLA’s student body is Latino, according to 2017 fall enrollment data. The May 2018 deadline is approaching, and the university is almost eligible for an HSI grant. The administration should waste no time applying to the program.
The resources supplied by the grant would support low-income students in obtaining degrees in STEM fields. The grant would also strengthen existing campus programs meant to foster academic participation.
Latino, low-income students and allies should work together and advocate for UCLA to apply as a HSI. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Los Angeles County has a Latino population of 48.5 percent as of July 2016. As a public institution, UCLA has a responsibility to ensure it is accessible to one of the largest demographics in the city.
By becoming an HSI, UCLA would open the doors to federal funds that would create numerous opportunities for low-income students on campus. Receiving funding does not require grantees to match funds, and the grant award lasts for five years, meaning student services and academic support would be able to enjoy a reliable funding source to ensure Bruins’ academic success and graduation.
UC Irvine, UC Merced, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside and UC Santa Cruz are registered as HSIs. UCLA should follow suit. As Bruins, we should all be committed to supporting each other and demonstrating our commitment to economic justice for all – especially for students who most need assistance.
Lizardo is a fifth-year anthropology student and internal chairperson of the Community Programs Office Student Association. Zea is a fourth-year sociology student and external chairperson of the CPO Student Association. Ramos is a fourth-year psychobiology student and internal coordinator for the Chicanos/Latinos for Community Medicine. Vasquez is a fourth-year psychobiology student and external coordinator of Chicanos/Latinos for Community Medicine.