College earns special status for Hispanic population - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

College earns special status for Hispanic population

May 24th, 2021 development
College earns special status for Hispanic population


New enrollment figures have helped Chandler-Gilbert Community College earn a distinction that will allow the campus to apply for new sources of federal funding.

The growing number of CGCC students who identify as Hispanic or Latinx has recently reached a level that has allowed the college to earn the title of a “Hispanic-Serving Institution.”

The U.S. Department of Education awards the distinction to colleges that have at least 25 percent of their population consisting of Hispanic students.

More than 5,000 of Chandler-Gilbert’s students from the last school year identified as Hispanic.

As a result of the designation, the college can seek millions of dollars in grant funding that could go towards curriculum development, new technology or a scholarship endowment.

Chandler-Gilbert joins eight other community colleges in Maricopa County to earn the HSI label. Scottsdale Community College is now the only campus in the district that has not earned the status.

College President Greg Peterson said the new distinction will open up more opportunities for Chandler-Gilbert to seek federal funding that can support a variety of programs.

“This is a sign of the commitment we’ve made to our Latinx community members and neighbors to prioritize inclusive curriculum, resources and student support,” Peterson said.

Even though the HSI distinction singles out the college’s Hispanic community, Peterson said the status could potentially enrich the education of all the college’s students.

“It will equip our college to better serve our Hispanic and Latinx students throughout their academic careers,” President Peterson added.

“In addition, we’ve found that the strategies we employ in serving our Hispanic and Latinx students will actually benefit all of our students.”

Over the last year, Chandler-Gilbert has had to contend with fluctuating enrollment numbers as many students chose to delay their post-secondary education during the pandemic.

CGCC and the nine other campuses in the Maricopa Community College District have collectively lost about 10,000 full-time students over the last year.

Chandler-Gilbert started off its 2020-2021 school year with a 22-percent drop in its enrollment numbers.

The college ended the 2021 spring semester with about 11,000 students and already has more than 2,100 enrolled for courses in the fall. The campus anticipates its enrollment data to change as it begins to bring back more in-person class offerings in the coming months.

During the pandemic, most of Chandler-Gilbert’s courses had to quickly shift over to a virtual format and few students have been allowed on campus this past year.

Chandler-Gilbert has not made public any plans for what types of projects it may seek federal funding for, now that it’s eligible to apply for the government’s HSI grants.

Only 18 percent of the nation’s colleges and universities have the HSI distinction. Each year, the country’s HSI campuses compete to obtain a large grant from the federal government for a project that would benefit its minority students.

In 2019, more than 200 HSI campuses applied for grants and only 43 were successful in obtaining funds, which had a total value of $24 million.

Phoenix’s Gateway Community College received $582,000 in 2019 to develop a holistic approach to ensuring its students graduate on time.

Tucson’s Pima Community College was awarded $500,000 in 2019 to revamp their programs in culinary arts and hospitality management, which are primarily enrolled by Hispanic students.