New DOE Designation to Help Mesa College Serve Hispanic Students, Opens Doors to Funding

San Diego Mesa College has been designated by the Department of Education as a Hispanic Serving Institution. The notification, received April 13, 2012, authorizes the college to apply for grants as an eligible institution under Title III and Title V programs of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEA).

“This designation does two important things,” said Dr. Pamela T. Luster, President. “First, it acknowledges that Mesa College is committed to serving historically underrepresented students, and this designation opens the door to grants and funding that will enable us to increase access and success for a greater number of students. Second, it brings the college recognition as a part an excellent network of colleges and universities nationwide designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions.”

A Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) is defined as a non-profit institution that has at least 25 percent Hispanic full-time equivalent enrollment, among other criteria. HSI standing may mean more grant funding and appropriations will be allocated to Mesa College in an effort to assist Hispanics in accomplishing their higher-education goals. The college’s sister institution, San Diego City College, also serves as an HSI, with San Diego State University also gaining HSI status in 2012. The college is poised to collaborate with these higher education institutions to leverage energy and funding.

San Diego Community College District board member, Dr. Maria Nieto Senour, said, “This designation reflects the Board’s goal to seek ways to better serve our San Diego community.  We could not be more pleased!”

District Chancellor, Dr. Constance Carroll, added, “The diligence of Mesa College’s leadership and staff in pursuing this designation speaks to a commitment shared by all district employees to provide the best education possible to our students.”

Although Hispanics are the fastest-growing and largest minority population in America, they also have some of the highest rates of high-school dropouts of any group, which translates to lower rates of secondary education as well, according to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

Recently named as one of the fastest-growing colleges in the nation, San Diego Mesa College is a fully accredited, two-year college offering 180 associate degree and certificate programs. Mesa College is the largest of three colleges in the San Diego Community College District, which includes San Diego City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges and San Diego Continuing Education.