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Alamogordo, Carlsbad reap $5 million grants from Department of Education

Date: 10/12/2010

On Sept. 30, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced 99 new grant awards, totaling $60.1 million, to enhance colleges that enroll a high percentage of Hispanic students.

Both New Mexico State University Carlsbad and New Mexico State University Alamogordo were awarded five-year grants from the DOE's Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program.NMSU-Alamogordo will receive $637,951 in year one funding, while NMSU-Carlsbad will get $637,936. The totals of each grant over the five years will be more than $3 million.

Grants awarded under the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program fund activities such as faculty development, curriculum development, academic tutoring and mentoring and construction and renovation of instructional facilities. The five-year grants will allow the Alamogordo and Carlsbad campuses to expand educational opportunities and improve the academic attainment of Hispanic students.

"Funding from this grant will focus on Allied Health fields and will assist in our ability to develop a Health Information Technology degree program at our campus," said Russell Hardy, president of NMSU-Carlsbad.

Hardy commended Kathy Greenwood, professor of English; Paula Wallace, program coordinator of Distance Education; and the NMSU-Carlsbad nursing department for providing useful information and for writing an award winning grant proposal.

"We were thrilled when Sen. Jeff Bingaman's office notified us of the grant last week," said Staci Guy, public relations coordinator at NMSU-Carlsbad. "Dr. Greenwood and Paula Wallace put in many hours to make sure everything was in order for this grant and of course they couldn't have done it without the assistance of the nursing department. They are all to be commended."

This is the third Title V grant NMSU-Carlsbad has received and according to Hardy, it will greatly assist in providing funding for equipment, technological improvements and academic programming to complement the Allied Health and University Transfer building, which is currently under construction and should be completed by summer 2011.

NMSU-Alamogordo plans to use the grant money in part to pilot test the initiative of a Fast Track developmental education option, intended to accelerate student progress through the developmental education sequence and into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics courses. The STEM areas of focus for the grant include biomedical technology, information technology, electronic technology and renewable energy.

The grant will improve services to all students, but the focus of the improved services will be for Hispanic and low-income students.

"We can meet President Obama's goal of having the highest college graduation rate in the world by 2020 only if we dramatically boost college completion rates among students of all races, ethnicities and income levels," Duncan, the education secretary, said. "These two programs make an important contribution toward that goal by ensuring that the institutions serving Hispanic students offer high-quality programs and provide support services to help their students stay in school and succeed."

A Hispanic-Serving Institution is defined as an eligible institution of higher education that has at least 25 percent Hispanic full-time equivalent undergraduate enrollment.

More information about the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program is available at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/idueshsi/index.html.

Written by Mark Cramer.

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