UCR’s regains federal designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution

Ryan Poon /The Highlander

At the beginning of 2020, UCR lost its designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution after a filing omission occurred under UCR’s Office of Planning, Budget and Administration that caused them to miss the filing deadline for 2020. UCR estimates that it lost $2.4 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act funding due to losing its HSI designation. The university has officially regained its status as a HSI after approval from the U.S. Department of Education. 

Hispanic-Serving Institutions are defined under Title V of the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Act as an institution of higher education with a full-time equivalent undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25% Hispanic. HSI’s must have an enrollment of students in need where at least 50% of an institution’s students received financial assistance under the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work Study or the Federal Perkins Loan Programs.

A letter to UCR from the U.S. Department of Education stated, “We are pleased to inform you that your recent request for designation as an eligible institution under Titles III and V of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 , is approved.” 

UCR also regained its status as a federally designated Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. AANAP institutions provide universities with grants and related assistance to allow for improvement and expansion in relation to their capacity to serve Asian Americans and Native American Pacific Islanders and low-income individuals.

As a result of regaining their designation as a HSI and an AANAP, UCR is now eligible for a waiver of the non-federal share matching requirements under the Federal Work Study Program, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program and the TRIO Student Support Services Program under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. UCR’s status renewal also means that it is also potentially eligible for a waiver of the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program matching requirement, pending a demonstration of UCR’s need for such a waiver in its application for new awards under this program.

The filing omission occurred after UCR’s Office of Planning, Budget and Administration failed to submit documents to the Department of Education required to certify UCR’s HSI designation. Vice Chancellor of Planning, Budget and Administration Gerry Bomotti, previously stated in an interview with The Highlander that the specific annual requirement was not part of their division’s “master calendar” project that ensures such responsibilities are not overlooked. 

Despite UCR’s quick renewal of its HSI status, many students and faculty still expressed concern with how the situation was handled. “[We] believe that the campus administration’s indifference to this situation, the way the situation has been handled and its blatant lack of transparency is disrespectful, impetuous, and malicious,” stated ASUCR’s Office of Internal Affairs. In my opinion, the failure to promptly communicate the issue was a major mistake on the part of the administration,” stated Mauck. Assistant Professor of Entomology Kerry Mauck told The Highlander in a past interview that, “In my opinion, the failure to promptly communicate the issue was a major mistake on the part of the administration.” 

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