Grant Opportunities to Reduce Barriers to Higher Ed

May 15, 2023
  • Enrollment Management
  • Grants and Scholarships
  • Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM)
Illustration of an individual struggling with red tape or barriers.

As many colleges and universities are striving to recruit and retain a more diverse population of learners, often new strategies and tactics for doing so are needed. Strategic enrollment management, therefore, includes intentionally shaping not only enrollment size but also enrollment mix. Recruitment materials in multiple languages, bilingual recruiters, technology that creates a sense of connection between the student and the institution, and affinity programs that build toward a sense of belongingness, just to name a few, are assisting colleges and universities in meeting their goals in recruiting and retaining a more diverse enrollment mix. AACRAO wishes to draw your attention to two grant opportunities that are designed to reduce barriers to higher education and improve diversity, equity, and inclusion for learners.

Opportunities Available

The U.S. Education Department recently opened the application period for two federal grant programs that aim to expand higher education opportunities for Hispanic/Latino/a/x and Native American students. The programs provide funding to help institutions bolster higher education access and student success. 

The Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI) Program provides grants to eligible institutions to plan, develop, undertake, and carry out activities to improve and expand their capacity to serve Native American and low-income students. In particular, the grants serve to support programs that foster students' sense of belonging and to implement services that provide high-quality learning, improve student engagement, and help students complete their degree programs.  

Applications for NASNTI Program grants are due June 12. The department will prioritize projects and proposals designed to improve students' social, emotional, academic, and career development; increase postsecondary access, affordability, completion, and success for underserved students; or strengthen and institutionalize Native language preservation and revitalization.

Similarly, the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (DHSI) Program aims to assist Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) with expanding educational opportunities for and improving the academic attainment of, Hispanic/Latino/a/x students. This year’s call for DHSI Program grant applicants notes the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the progress made in postsecondary enrollment of Hispanic students over the last decade and calls attention to the negative impact on institutions and communities from the loss of Hispanic students. A National Student Clearinghouse Research Center study found that Hispanic undergraduate enrollment fell 7 percent from 2019 to 2021. The DHSI Program grants offer some assistance to institutions working to address this decline and re-engage and retain students, especially Hispanic students, through targeted supports, including those that leverage technology, and holistic wraparound services.

Applications for DHSI Program grants are due June 13.


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