Story STEM

CSU Wins $10M to Support Latino STEM Education

Elizabeth Chapin


​Photo credit: Jason Halley


Six California State University campuses—Fullerton, Northridge, Pomona, Sacramento, San Diego and Stanislaus—will receive more than $10 million from the National Science Foundation to increase Latino student success in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The six CSUs are among 31 colleges and universities to receive awards in NSF's first-ever grant program dedicated to increasing retention and graduation rates for STEM students attending Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).

The awardees are among the CSU's 21 HSIs—universities with an undergraduate Latino student enrollment of at least 25 percent. The HSI designation makes campuses eligible for federal grants and other programs aimed at strengthening Latino student success.

Occupations in the STEM fields are projected to grow faster than the overall average for all sectors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates STEM employment to increase by 13 percent between 2012-2022. These workforce projections lend a sense of urgency to increase STEM degree attainment, particularly among Latinos, the nation's fastest growing student population.

With the grant funding, campuses will develop projects that focus on areas including supporting STEM student transfers from community colleges, faculty development and reducing high repetition rates in lower division STEM courses.

The project at Stanislaus State, for example, aims to improve STEM student success by developing a faculty culture of evidence-based teaching and student-centered learning environments.

"Through summer teaching institutes, workshops and peer support groups, STEM faculty will make use of the latest research on teaching and learning from education and social science fields to modify their curriculum and pedagogy," said Matt Cover, Stan State professor of ecology and the university's principal investigator for the award program. "It is really exciting that this grant will give us more tools and resources to provide our students with the very best educational experiences."

Cal State Northridge's grant will fund an "HSI Resource Hub" to be created in collaboration with New Mexico State University. The hub aims to reach HSIs across the nation to build partnerships to support STEM education and research capacity while encouraging the implementation of cutting-edge training.

The new NSF program joins three designated programs for HSIs established by the U.S. Department of Education, which already provide the CSU's HSI campuses with millions of dollars in federal funding to bolster Latino student success.

The grants support the progress made by the CSU's Graduation Initiative 2025, which is helping to ensure that equity gaps between underserved students and their peers are closed. Launched in 2016, the initiative is already showing promising results and completion rates are now at all-time highs in all categories.

More about the CSU's new NSF grants can be found at the links below:

Fullerton: $1,496,967
Advancing Student Success in Undergraduate Engineering and Computer Science

Northridge (in collaboration with New Mexico State University): $2,633,530
The NSF National Resource Hub for STEM Education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Pomona: $1,479,959
Polytechnic for All: STEM Undergraduate Success via an Inclusive Institution

Sacramento: $1,500,000
STEM Faculty Professional Learning in the Zone of Proximal Development

San Diego: $1,483,589
Undergraduate STEM Transitions, Experiences, and Mobility

Stanislaus: $1,462,263
Collaboration for Inclusive and Engaging Curriculum, Instruction, and Achievement