National University receives prestigious multi-million dollar grant to accelerate Hispanic student success by strengthening DE&I, teaching, advising and transfer practices
SAN DIEGO (December 9, 2022) — National University, one of the largest private nonprofit Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) in the United States serving more than 40,000 students, today announced that it has been awarded a five-year $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to dramatically enhance its support for Hispanic students. Through funding from the Title V Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (DHSI) Program, the university will work to integrate a series of new teaching, advising, transfer and hiring practices designed to dismantle systemic barriers to Hispanic student success.
“Making good on our commitments to the Hispanic students we serve means thinking critically about how we can build the best possible learning environment and more deeply understand their educational goals, aspirations and needs,” said Dr. J.B. Robinson, associate dean of students, School Of Arts, Letters And Science at National University. “Our vision for this project is to address systemic barriers to student success and affordability by creating an educational experience that is culturally responsive and relevant to Hispanic students.”
Nearly a third (31.1%) of students at National University identify as Hispanic, which is federally-recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution. Nationwide, Hispanic enrollment has more than doubled since 2008, reflecting the rapid growth of Hispanic Americans as a share of the total U.S. population. More than 4 in 10 (44%) Hispanic college students are the first in their families to attend college, and HSIs account for one-quarter of all community college transfers. However, Hispanic students graduate at a rate 2% lower than their white peers at community and technical colleges and 13% lower than at four-year institutions.
To help remove barriers to Hispanic student success, National University will launch a new initiative called ACCESS (Accelerating Curricular Change and Enhancing Student Support) led by a cross-functional team that includes student services, academic affairs, and its office of Social Justice Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Over the next five years, the program will launch as a three-pronged effort focused on creating inclusive learning environments, ensuring equitable outcomes and reducing educational costs for Hispanic students.
To help reduce educational costs, the program will focus on strengthening support for Hispanic transfer students and expand transfer agreements with other Hispanic Serving Institutions to ensure as many prior credits as possible count toward a degree.
“To meet the needs of striving Hispanic students, we need to put in place the scaffolding, support, and services to help more Hispanic students achieve their educational and career aspirations,” said Dr. Mark D. Milliron, president and CEO of National University. “This grant reflects the hard work the NU team has done to create career-relevant educational experiences for Hispanic learners and communities. It will provide critical new resources to scale our impact and reach.”
Investments in faculty and staff training and professional development will also be a core component of the program. In its first year, the program will focus on the development of culturally responsive curriculum and asset-based teaching practices, coupled with targeted investments in professional development and training mentoring for faculty, staff and advisors. NU will also launch a faculty mentoring program that will pair instructors from programs with a strong track record of serving Hispanic students with those with the highest equity gaps between Hispanic students and other peer groups.
As a veteran-founded, Hispanic-Serving Institution, National University’s student population reflects the shifting—and highly diverse—demographics of higher education today. According to Diverse Issues in Higher Education, the university provides more master’s degrees in education to minority students than any other college or university in California, as well as more master’s degrees in all disciplines combined to the state’s Hispanics and African Americans. NU consistently ranks in the Top 10 nationally in granting master’s degrees to women.
About National University: National University, a veteran-founded nonprofit, has been dedicated to meeting the needs of hard-working adults by providing accessible, affordable, achievable higher education opportunities since 1971. As San Diego’s largest private nonprofit university, NU offers over 100 online and on-campus programs and flexible four-week classes designed to help students reach their goals while balancing busy lives. Since its founding, the NU community has grown to 40,000 students and 200,000 alumni around the globe, many of whom serve in helping industries such as business, education, health care, cybersecurity, and law and criminal justice. Learn more at NU.edu