A Strong, Catholic, Hispanic-Serving Institution

In early 2023, the University of St. Francis earned the Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation by the U.S. Department of Education for having an undergraduate full-time equivalent student population that is comprised of at least 25 percent Hispanic students. The project will serve USF’s more than 1,200 undergraduate students, 30% of whom are Hispanic, 40% of whom are Pell-eligible, and 64% of whom are first-generation college students.

With the designation, USF was able to apply for and has since been awarded Title V Developing HSIs (DHSI) funding in the form of a grant worth close to $3M over five years. Ninety percent of DHSI program costs are being financed with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education, while 10% of DHSI program are financed by USF.

The grant will largely fund a DHSI project titled “Going from Si se Puede to Si se Pudo,” (translated to English as “Going from ‘We Can Do It’ to ‘We Did Do It’”), designed to support capacity enhancements and innovative strategies to significantly increase retention and graduation rates for all students, and especially those who are Hispanic, from low-income households, or otherwise underserved. The overarching DHSI goal of the project is to transform how the institution engages with current and future students to improve retention over the five-year project period.

Current HSI/Title V Initiatives

  • Creation of a new commuter lounge
  • Remedial math program for incoming first-year students
  • Increased student employment
  • A revised Foundations 1 course
  • The Spanish Language and Cultural Competency Initiative
  • Revised curriculum to acknowledge and include more about Hispanic culture
  • Spanish language translation of things like USF website, marketing materials and more
  • Peer mentoring program to increase students’ sense of community and belonging
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