The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Dallas College $9 million in Title V Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) grants. According to the U.S. Department of Education, for a college institution to meet HSI requirements it must have at least 25% full-time Hispanic enrollment. Dallas College’s Hispanic enrollment demographic reaches 45%.
Prior to the seven campuses consolidating to create the Dallas College model in June, each campus applied separately for the grant.
Funding from the grants will mostly go to El Centro, Eastfield and North Lake campuses, but some funding will also be used for other campuses within the Dallas College network.
According to The Department of Education, the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (DHSI) Program provides grants to assist colleges in expanding educational opportunities for Hispanic students and to improve the attainment of institutional stability.
Liliana Cruz, Brookhaven Student Government Association vice president, said she believes the grants are an amazing opportunity for the Latino community at Dallas College. “I believe that this will allow for some students to break the barrier of not attending college because of financial issues and really push them forward in achieving their goals and dreams,” she said.
Christa Slejko, president of Dallas College’s North Lake Campus, said the opportunity to apply for the grant was wonderful as the Hispanic student population at Dallas College continues to grow. “All students can benefit from what we’re doing, but we’re certainly being very mindful of the kinds of things that would help Hispanic students and their families,” Slejko said.
While most classes continue remotely, the college intends to use some of the funds to introduce a mixture of in-person and online internships for students.
According to Slejko, the college plans to facilitate more in-person internship opportunities in the future. “We hope after spring we’ll be back to a more normal course experience and work experience,” she said.
In addition to the new internship opportunities, Dallas College also plans to use the funds to enhance culturally responsive courses, create a family inclusive bilingual orientation program and give faculty new tools to help improve student engagement.
Rebekah Benavides, Brookhaven Campus program coordinator, said she believes the funds will give underserved areas of Dallas a better opportunity to obtain a higher education. “Especially during this time when there is so much uncertainty about the economy and the effect the pandemic continues to have on our daily lives,” she said.
The five-year grants began Oct. 1, and will end Sept. 30, 2025.