Hispanic Serving Institution Proposal Guidance

Guidance on Research Proposals

Incorporating the Hispanic Serving Institution Designation into our Research Identity:

UNT is federally designated as a Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI). Thus, the UNT community can write grants specifically available to HSIs. Grants can also be written that incorporate the strength of being an HSI and Tier 1 research institute, that involve teaching and training of underrepresented minority students (URM), and where HSIs are encouraged to apply but being an HSI is not specifically required by the funding agency (non-HSI grant opportunities).

HSI required grant submissions typically require proof that the university is an HSI. A digital copy of proof from the U.S. Department of Education can be provided upon request. Discuss with your pre-award grant specialist. 

Grant opportunities that highly encourage HSIs to apply may or may not require proof of HSI designation. Refer to the grant program announcement for such. 

UNT is one of sixteen universities in the nation that has the double designation as an HSI and Tier 1 Research. Conveying this unique characteristic of UNT and the institutional support and commitment to the UNT student populations will maximize grant competitiveness. This webpage is dedicated in providing guidance on understanding what an HSI means, potential information to integrate into an HSI grant application, and how to integrate the status of an HSI within your grant proposal.  

Definition of HSI 

  • In 2020, The University of North Texas, Denton (UNT) achieved designation from the Department of Education as a Title III & Title V Minority Serving Institution (MSI).  In 2020, UNT also achieved designations as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).  

  • U.S. Department of Education (ED) defines an HSI and provides additional information for HSI institutes. 

Being designated an HSI provides grant opportunities within other funding agencies. Additionally, there are research programs that serve students from underrepresented groups represented at HSIs and specific to workforce development programs. Below are examples of programs and opportunities.  

Tips on Grantwriting for our HSI designation 

Large institutional HSI grant proposals require strategic planning and communication between various units on campus. Often, data about our underrepresented students and programs are required on these types of projects. We recommend kickoff, planning, and writing meetings to ensure timelines are feasible for gathering such information and determining roles and responsibilities on the project. We recommend at least a six months lead time to prepare for large HSI proposals.  

Note: Additional stakeholders often need to be involved by providing letters of support or collaboration, administrative or training support, or serve as senior advisors or personnel on the project.  

Potential Stakeholders

  • Office of the President or Provost
  • Division of Equity and Diversity (ex. Multicultural Center) 
  • Financial Aid or Admissions Office 
  • Toulouse Graduate School
  • Student Affairs 
  • Disabilities Office
  • Veterans Affairs Office
  • Programs for Underrepresented Students (TRIO, G-FORCE, McNair)
  • Division of Research and Innovation
  • Colleges

Gathering Institutional Data for HSI Grants

A foundational component of intuitional or training grant proposals is data that reveals the complexities of UNT. These data can include demographic data of students and faculty for UNT and within specific departments.  

It is also recommended to become familiar with national, regional, and/or peer institute data to reflect on where UNT is relative to other institutes or averages within the country. Sources for this data can be obtained from funding agency sites (e.g. NSF statisticsNIH). 

UNT data needed to pursue HSI related opportunities can be obtained through various sites: 

  • UNT Factbook Webpage is useful for aggregated and summarized trend data. The factbook is a good source of student enrollment data over many years. The PI would need to determine if overarching UNT data and/or specific program data is needed within the grant opportunity. 

  • UNT Insights provides educational analytics. If you are new to UNT Insights, and are an UNT employee, complete the data training form to request access and training. (Note: the virtual training sessions are via Zoom). 

  • UNT Data, Analytics, and Institutional Research (DAIR) department accepts requests for assistance with obtaining specific data not found in the above sources. It is best to provide staff ample time to collect institutional data needed for a grant proposal.  

  • UNT Library Resource Page- Useful library resources for Hispanic and Minority Serving Institutions funding, UNT Division of Research and Innovation presentation by Dr. Brenda Barrio.

  • Local academic units should also be tapped for information and data on programs and data that may be relevant for your grant proposal. 

HSI Literature to Consider

Proposed educational activities within grant proposals should be grounded in evidence-based approaches. Often granting agencies can provide guidance on items to consider within grants (NIH). There is an array of literature on HSIs, educating and mentoring students from underrepresented populations, and best practices within fields to broaden participation. 

Seeking to Serve or $erve? Hispanic-Serving Institutions’ Race-Evasive Pursuit of Racialized Funding: Stephanie Aguilar-Smith, AERA Open. 

Defining "Servingness" at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs): Practical Implications for HSI Leaders: Gina Garcia, American Council on Education

Is "Business as Usual" Enough to Be Hispanic-Serving? Becoming a Hispanic-Serving Research Institution: Patricia Marin, Journal of Hispanic Higher Education

Culturally Relevant Practices that “Serve” Students at a Hispanic Serving Institution: Gina A. Garcia & Otgonjargal Okhidoi, Innovative Higher Education 

Student Characteristics, Pre-College, College, and Environmental Factors as Predictors of Majoring in and Earning a STEM Degree: An Analysis of Students Attending a Hispanic Serving Institution: Crisp et al., American Education Research Journal 

Using Institutional Resources and Agency to Support Graduate Students’ Success at a Hispanic Serving Institution: Tran et al., Education Scientists 

Negotiating Access and Tier One Aspirations: The Historical Evolution of a Striving Hispanic-Serving Institution: Erin A. Doran, Journal of Hispanic Higher Education 

Broadening Participation  

Broadening Participation within the academic fields is critical for future workforce development and eliminating barriers to career fields. These elements can be incorporated into the broader impacts (as defined by the National Science Foundation), which is part of the overall merit review process used at NSF. The goal is to discover and nurture talent wherever it may be found. An approach to achieve such includes reaching out to Individuals from a wide range of underrepresented groups. 

Broadening Participation Resources:  

Frequently Asked Questions

Are we “officially” a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI)? 

  • Hispanic/Latino students have represented almost a quarter of all UNT students for a long while – UNT historically has embraced its Hispanic Serving Institution identity with pride prior to official eligibility confirmation by the Department of Education. As of March 5, 2020, UNT is now officially listed in the 2020 list of eligible institutions by the Department of Education.

How does the federal designation process work? 

  • The Department of Education publishes a list of colleges/universities eligible for designation every year based on the following criteria: (1) Hispanic Enrollment; (2) Low-income Enrollment and (3) University Expenditures. UNT is confirmed to have met the requirements for this status.

What does this mean in terms of funding? 

  • UNT’s large concentration of Hispanic/Latino students allows UNT to compete for federal funding opportunities that are intended to improve the educational experience of Hispanic and low-income students and strengthen the institutional capacity of the university overall.

Where does the funding come from? 

  • There are several federal agencies that facilitate HSI (and Minority Serving Institution) related grant competitions. Foundations with an interest in Hispanic/Latino achievement may also provide additional funding opportunities.   

Can I apply for HSI grants now? 

  • Yes, UNT has already begun to pursue many federal funding opportunities that encourage Hispanic/Minority Serving Institution participation.

Why is our success as an HSI important? 

  • The significant growth of the Hispanic/Latino community at UNT provides a culturally enriching environment that reflects our greater North Texas region. North Texas has become an innovative and culturally diverse hub that is a beacon to the state. Diversity makes UNT better and strengthens our competitive advantage in both education and the workforce potential. More importantly, how we serve our students and understand how research can serve our student body is reflective of our values. 

When should I start putting together my team for an HSI proposal? 

  • As soon as possible, we recommend at least 6 months in advance to ensure timelines, meetings, letters of collaboration and support, and data requests are able to be met reasonably.

Who should be the lead PI on an HSI proposal? 

  • It depends, the HSI opportunity may be field-specific, in which case the PI should be led by a faculty member in the field with the specific expertise required. If the grant opportunity is broad, with large interdisciplinary programs meetings, letters of collaboration and support, and data requests are able to be met reasonably.