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Dominican University has been recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) since 2011. The U.S. Department of Education defines HSIs as institutions of higher education that have an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25% Hispanic, and are "eligible institutions" (i.e., an institution that enrolls low-income students). The U.S. Department of Education’s HSI Division funds three grant programs: 1) Title V, Part A, 2) Title V, Part B, and 3) Title III, Part F. Since 2017, Dominican has received four Title V and Title III grants aimed at expanding educational opportunities for, and improving the attainment of, Hispanic and other underrepresented students.

Title V, Part A
"Strengthening Advising, Teacher Education and Our H.S.I. Identity"

October 2017 – September 2022

This Title V, Part A project, with a $2.75 million budget, aims to improve overall student outcomes for Hispanic and low-income students at Dominican University. Whether it be retention, credit hour accumulation, standardized test scores, or graduation rates, we are meeting project objectives primarily by focusing on improving student services. With a targeted focus on the first year and high impact majors, the project is reducing equity gaps between Hispanic and White students, while also helping to create and support an institutional culture of equity-mindedness. By improving systems, infrastructure, policies and practices with increased multilingual peer tutors and advisors, updated digital tools, and a framework for culturally-informed and responsive practices and procedures, we are helping the institution shift from a culturally "neutral" and equality-minded perspective, to one that not only sees the need for equity, it better understands the cultural nature of educational and student services and thereby the diverse approaches that can be taken for greater effectiveness with underrepresented, minority, low-income and first generation students.

Project Director: Lisa Petrov,

Title V, Part B
"Posgrado Center: Graduate Services, New Programs, Inclusive Classroom"

October 2019 – September 2024

The Title V, Part B - Promoting Post Baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (PPOHA) project seeks to increase Hispanic and low-income graduate student success at Dominican University. The $3 million grant project is composed of three parts. Part one will strengthen and centralize graduate student support services by providing enhanced access to holistic advising, skills support, and personal finance education. In an effort to reduce the debt burden of our minority students, one of the major barriers for degree attainment, the project supports the “Posgrado Scholarship,” geared towards prospective Hispanic and low-income graduate students. Part two seeks to to increase student participation in post-baccalaureate degree and certificate programs by providing fast-track pathways from undergraduate majors to graduate programs at Dominican, and supporting the expansion of graduate offerings across disciplines in high-demand areas. Guided by Dominican’s commitment to building a more equitable institution, part three of the project aims to increase capacity for professional development opportunities for faculty and staff to foster a better understanding of the lived experiences of our low-income and minority students, and in turn, be better equipped to serve them.

Project Director: Roberto Curci,
Activity Director: Marcela Reales Visbal,

Title V, Part A2
“El Faro: Shining a Beacon on Hispanic/Low-Income Students’ Career Services, Employer-Aligned Curricula and Financial Literacy”

October 2020 – September 2025

Dominican University’s Title V, Part A2 project is composed of three parts: expanding and transforming career development services to improve student outcomes, aligning curricula with employer needs, and improving the financial literacy of our students, many of whom are first-generation. Each part of this $3 million grant includes programs and activities designed to serve Dominican’s Hispanic, first-generation, and low-income student populations in a way that creates a lasting infrastructure in an equitable manner within the Dominican community. Through this grant, Dominican will create the El Faro Career Center, which will be a centralized space where students can access major-specific career advising through Experts in Residence. These career mentors are industry experts in their field and will provide career advising services tailored to the needs of students per their career path. For those students who are undecided, the El Faro Career Center will also have specialized services to assist students as they consider various career paths and subsequently a major that aligns with that goal.

Project Director: Jamie Shaw,
Activity Director: Elizabeth Soto,

Title III, Part F HSI STEM
“Improve STEM Services, Strengthen Teaching and Learning, Fill Program Gaps”

October 2021 – September 2026

The purpose of the Title III-F HSI - Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) and Articulation Program is to: (1) increase the number of Hispanic and other low-income students attaining degrees in STEM fields, and (2) to develop model transfer and articulation agreements between two-year and four-year institutions in STEM fields. Dominican University was awarded a 5 year $5 million Title III-F HSI STEM grant in October 2021. This funding will allow Dominican to augment academic and non-academic services for STEM students, including those in the Health Sciences, partner with 2-year schools to decrease barriers for transferring into Dominican STEM majors, strengthen teaching and learning in STEM courses, and add in-demand STEM majors. Further, the programs and activities of this grant are also intended to foster belongingness and an environment of success in rigorous STEM degree programs, leading to educational equity, excellence, and economic opportunities for our Hispanic and low-income students.