Education / Schools

Gavilan College awarded funds to improve degree and certificate completion for Hispanic students

Community college to receive $600K annually for a period of five years.

Information provided by Gavilan College.

Gavilan College has received a $3 million grant that will be paid over five years. According to a recent press release, the United State Department of Education (DOE) has awarded the community college a grant of $600,000 per year for five years through the Developing Hispanic–Serving Institutions (DHSI) Program, under Title V of the Higher Education Act. The college was notified of the award by letter earlier this month.

Title V grants are awarded through a competitive application process. This year, 249 grant applications were reviewed by the DOE, and 118 grant awards were awarded. The maximum award size per grant award is $600,000 per year for a period of five years. Total national funding for the new awards was $69,354,131.

The Gavilan College proposal, titled Juntos Avanzamos (Advancing Together)—Mobilizing Gavilan’s Ethos of Care, seeks to improve the success of Hispanic students in completing degrees and certificates at the college. By creating systems that will better inform students of services and opportunities, all students may benefit from the work of this grant, the release said.

Grant Goals

  1. Reinvigorate the Gavilan student experience by making career central, not peripheral, to the academic experience.
  2. Develop an innovative coordinated care approach customized to the strengths and needs of Hispanic students that fosters a college culture of inclusion, engagement and excellence through improved communication, coordination and collaboration, and makes equity a top priority.
  3. Increase student outcomes and close equity gaps to ensure alignment with state-mandated performance-based funding focused on student equity and student success.

Grant Strategies

Seamless matriculation—Making transparent the connection between academic planning, financial literacy and aid, and career planning.

  • Redesigned orientation
  • First Year experience class

Integrated High-touch Support—Adapting Guided Pathways practices and the network of care to the strengths and needs of Hispanic students

  • El Centro, a new student needs (food, housing, etc.) and financial coaching service center.
  • Integrated academic and student support
  • Case management system with frequent communication
  •  Internship opportunities, particularly targeting Latinx students

Equity Climate Shift—Drive a college culture shift to embrace the identity of a Hispanic-Serving Institution

  • Common peer-advisor tutor training focused on equity principles and service
  • Latino faculty mentoring program
  • Equity training certificate for faculty and staff
  • Faculty internship program for students and community members interested in becoming faculty

According to the press release, Hispanic students at Gavilan College are much more likely to be low-income than their peers, and as a group, the sacrifices they must make to attend college are much more impactful on their lives. Many students struggle with basic needs such as food and shelter, and staying in college often becomes secondary to survival. Providing students with the tools and understanding to take control of their financial lives is now understood as essential to improving equity in completion of degree and certificate programs.

Many Hispanic students are the first in their families to attend college, and may lack support and preparation for the demands of higher education. Their families often face heavy financial burdens forcing students to work long hours and therefore only interact with the campus in a minimal way. They may feel like they don’t belong, as well as a lack of trust that college can really be a path to a better life. Studies have shown that most students decide within the first six weeks of attending a new college whether they feel like they belong at that institution. To foster an early sense of belonging, the college must make conscious efforts to create opportunities for community and make students aware of the resources available to them, and these efforts must be focused on reaching all students at the beginning of their first term at the college. This grant will help to strengthen the integration between student services and instruction in key first year courses.

Juntos Avanzamos seeks to improve student success by building equity with action. It builds upon the Guided Pathways effort already underway at Gavilan College and other existing and planned efforts, and is designed to be integrated across the college, rather than encapsulated.

More information about this grant can be found on the college website under Title V Grant.

BenitoLink Staff