SF State denied grant money for HSI-STEM program

SF State was absent from the list of schools, published Friday, that announced awards of federal grant money given to eligible Hispanic Serving Institutions.

The University applied to one of the three grant programs offered, the HSI-STEM program,  competing against 414 other institutions.

Belinda I. Reyes, associate professor of the Latina and Latino studies department, was a member of the team involved in applying for this year’s HSI-Stem program and said the application process consisted of proposing a comprehensive project that would be created with the HSI-Stem program funding.    

“It was a nice comprehensive proposal,” said Reyes. “The proposal consisted of plans to expand the number of students; we focused on Latino students, but the things that we were proposing benefits everybody.”

According to Reyes, some of the proposed ideas consisted of creating more connections with community colleges to expand the Transfer Articulation Program that SF State offers, as well as plans to bring more students on the transfer pathway to SF State.

“We also discussed a pathway through Ethnic Studies, so students could combine Ethnic Studies and Science and get a joint degree,” said Reyes. “There were a number of proposals.”

Christian Rivera-Nolan, a fourth-year biology major, felt disappointed with the news of our loss of potential funding.

“I feel like it’s unfortunate because we can do so much good stuff with more funding,” said Rivera-Nolan. “I have a lot of friends with a lot of potential that are interested in the sciences and maybe health and they fall off track and end up in a different major or different career path because I feel like there’s maybe not enough safety nets.”

“I feel like additional funding would have let us expand more on research opportunities and a lot of things that undergraduates need to be more competitive,” said Rivera-Nolan.

Biology major Felipe Marcias agreed with Rivera-Nolan.

“It’s a shame, honestly, because there’s a huge need for the resources here. It’s great that we’re getting a great education but that’s not all,” said Marcias. “I’ve got friends that are staying some extra years, friends in the biology department, trying to get into the labs and trying to get more experience but are struggling to do so because of funding.”

The HSI-Stem program had $98,906,089 in funding, which they distributed as individual institution grants among 91 HSIs. The highest grant recipients included California Lutheran University and East Los Angeles College, receiving $1,200,000. The lowest recipient was New Mexico State University with a grant award of $555,884.

The reasoning behind grant amount disparity is unknown. Golden Gate Xpress reached out to the HSI program directors, but was unable to get a quote before time of publication.

Though SF State did not receive federal funding this year, some students are not discouraged. Jesus j. Verduzco, an Urban Studies and Planning major, is optimistic for future competitions.

“It doesn’t make me feel good to know that we lost, but I think it’s kind of motivating to keep trying to win,” said urban studies and planning major Jesus j. Verduzco. “I think this school really deserves it.”

Like Verduzco, Reyes is optimistic for next year’s competition.

“Now that we have put together a proposal that we can fix, it’s going to be a lot easier to work on it and tweak it next time around,” said Reyes.

 

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