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NSF Announces the Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI Program)

Building Capacity at Hispanic-Serving Institutions
The NSF Improving Undergraduate Education: Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI Program) focuses on enhancing the quality of undergraduate STEM education at HSIs and seeks to increase the retention and graduation rates of students pursuing associate or baccalaureate degrees in STEM. In addition, the HSI Program seeks to build capacity at HSIs that typically do not receive high levels of NSF grant funding.

  • The NSF News Release announcing the first awards for conferences may be found here.
  • The NSF News Release announcing the first research awards under the HSI Program may be found here.

Webinar Information:
The HSI Program hosted technical assistance webinars on January 4th and 17th of 2018 for solicitation NSF 18-524. The webinar presentation slides may be viewed here.

Solicitation Published
NSF published the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI Program) Solicitation (NSF 18-524). Additional information may be found on the HSI Program website. The HSI Program Certification Form is now available here.

History of Actions to Develop the Program
NSF undertook several actions to seek community input to inform the new HSI Program, including releasing a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), awarding conference grants, establishing the Building Capacity at Hispanic-Serving Institutions Subcommittee of the Education and Human Resources (EHR) Advisory Committee, and conducting several listening sessions.

  • Dear Colleague Letter
    On June 6, 2017, NSF released a DCL announcing its intention to establish an HSI Program. NSF invited the submission of conference proposals to identify challenges and opportunities regarding undergraduate STEM education at two-year and four-year HSIs.

    There were two submission deadline dates posted in the DCL: July 6, 2017, and September 30, 2017.

  • Conference Awards
    NSF made four awards from the proposals submitted for the July 6, 2017, deadline of the DCL. The awards are:

    • 1748199: HSI Conference: Hispanic-focused STEM Ideas for Inspiration and Innovation, Nova Southeastern University, FL (scheduled for December, 2017)
    • 1748526: HSI Conference: Transforming STEM Education in Hispanic Serving Institutions - Regional Insights from the Southwest; University of Arizona, AZ (scheduled for November 18-20, 2017)
    • 1748533: HSI Conference: Understanding and Improving Readiness and Student Transitions, University of Houston, TX (scheduled for February, 2018)
    • 1748570: HSI Conference: Pathways for Hispanic Students in STEM, University of California-Irvine, CA (scheduled for January, 2018)

    A one-page summary of these awards may be found here: HSI Conference Awards At-A-Glance

  • Conference Awards
    NSF made seven awards from the proposals submitted for the September 30, 2107, deadline of the DCL. The awards are:

    • 1800200: HSI Conference: URBANO-INCREASING ACCESS AND SUCCESS IN URBAN STEM PROGRAMS, CUNY City College, NY, PI Jorge Gonzalez (scheduled for May/June, 2018)
    • 1802552: HSI Conference: Accelerating the Impact of HSI STEM Education and Research on Innovation Ecosystems, University of Puerto, PR, PI Rodolfo Romanach (scheduled for November 8-9, 2018)
    • 1764268: HSI Conference: Stakeholder Perspectives on Challenges and Opportunities for Improving Undergraduate STEM Education at HSIs, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, TX, PI William Kitch (scheduled for February 27-28, 2018; see conference website for detailed info, physical location is El Centro College, Dallas)
    • 1759134: HSI Conference: PROMISE: Providing Resources and Opportunities for Minorities in STEM Education, Laredo Community College, TX, PI Nora Garza (scheduled for March 21-23, 2018)
    • 1764378 (with 1764166 and 1764249): Collaborative HSI Conference: Co-Designing an Engineering Education Research Agenda, University of Texas-El Paso, TX, PIs Meagan Kendall, Alexandra Strong and Ines Basalo (scheduled for UTEP, March 29-30, 2018; University of Miami, April 26-27, 2018; follow-up workshop in June @ annual meeting of the American Society for Engineering Education in Salt Lake City, UT, date TBD)
    • 1759566: HSI Conference: Catalyzing Progress in Undergraduate STEM Education with Insights from Midwestern HSIs, Northeastern Illinois University, IL, PI Laura Sanders (scheduled for May 3-4, 2018)
    • 1764323: HSI Conference: Dissecting the STEM Education Ecosystem in Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs): Regional Insights from Southern California, California State University Fullerton Foundation, CA, PI Yusheng (Chris) Liu (scheduled for April 25-27, 2018)

      Updated information on the second round of conference awards made in the HSI Program may be found here.

  • Subcommittee Meeting
    On August 14, 2017, the EHR Advisory Committee convened a Subcommittee to discuss Building Capacity at Hispanic-Serving Institutions. The Subcommittee consisted of a cross-section of campus leaders from 16 HSIs, charged with providing NSF with advice that will inform the design of the new program. The Subcommittee members represented diverse geographic regions, public and private institutions, and large and small schools. The Subcommittee prepared a report and submitted it to the EHR Advisory Committee on September 22, 2017. The EHR Advisory Committee met to receive, deliberate upon, and accept the report on September 29, 2017. The final report is posted below.


  • Listening Sessions
    To engage the broader HSI academic community - two- and four-year HSIs - in the discussion on designing the new program, NSF held three listening sessions in mid-August 2017. The purpose of the sessions was to gather feedback from the community regarding critical barriers and opportunities at their institutions. More than 300 participants from more than 100 institutions logged in to the listening sessions.


    At the Society for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 21, 2017, four NSF program officers hosted an hour-long listening session. Approximately twenty-five participants shared their input to inform the new Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI Program) at NSF.

NSF will continue to seek input from the community to inform the development the HSI program. Members of the public are invited to send their comments to nsf-ehr-hsi@nsf.gov.