This is the first in a series exploring grant opportunities for a variety of different types of minority-serving institutions (MSIs). Here, we talk to a grants officer at a small HSI. If you’d like to share your perspective and/or know of resources or content you think should be represented here, please feel free to email me at svolk@ascb.org.

There are a variety of different “Minority-Serving Institutions,” or MSIs, including: Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs). Because MSIs play such an important role in graduating students from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in the population of college graduates, MSIs have access to funds that are earmarked to promote academic and professional success in these student populations. However, faculty at MSIs often aren’t aware of the opportunities for funding that are limited to MSIs—they may not even realize they are at an MSI! (If you’d like to find out whether your institution is a registered MSI, you can check the database at the Center for MSIs. Your institution may still be an MSI even if it’s not on this database.)

For this post, we talked to Howard Jones, Sponsored Programs Officer at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) in San Antonio, Texas. OLLU is a small, urban, liberal-arts university with an undergraduate population that is majority-Hispanic, majority low-income, and majority first-generation college students. Because more than 25% of its undergraduate population identifies as Hispanic, OLLU is an HSI. OLLU faculty have been able to use that designation to successfully compete for several HSI-restricted grants.

Are there advantages to grantwriting as a faculty at an MSI?

Usually, there is less competition for grants restricted to MSIs.

Are there disadvantages?

The amount of funds “earmarked” for MSIs is often less than funds that go to “mainstream” colleges and universities. [So, even though there’s less competition, there are fewer dollars in the pot to award. MSIs are still eligible for non-MSI grants, of course—but because of challenges often faced by MSIs, they may not be as competitive in applications for non-restricted grants.]

What’s the best way to find out about science or education research grants that are directed to MSIs?

The most effective way is to add your name to listservs such as at grants.gov, or subscribe to agencies that provide regular weekly updates for upcoming grant opportunities such as Federal Grants and Contracts Weekly.

Are there particular funding sources or programs for science or education research grants that you’d particularly encourage MSI faculty to pursue?

US ED Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP)

US ED Title V Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions Program

US ED Institute of Education Sciences (IES) – for education research funding

NSF – Scholarships for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program (NSF – S-STEM)

USDA Hispanic Serving Institutions program

Do you have any advice for grant-seeking faculty at MSIs?

Often, it helps to connect with a specific association that serves your institution’s population and provides grant updates. For our faculty, that would be HACU, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

Many thanks to Howard Jones of OLLU for sharing his expertise with us!

The Center for MSIs is a great place to find out more information about MSIs and opportunities for these institutions—check them out here.

Resource for Faculty at MSIs Web Link
Funding Options
US ED Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP) Link
US ED Title V Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions Program Link
US ED Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Link
NSF – Scholarships for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program (NSF – S-STEM) Link
USDA Hispanic Serving Institutions program Link
Other Resources
Center for MSIs (out of Univ of Pennsylvania) Link
Database of registered MSIs (from Center for MSIs) Link
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Link
Federal Grants and Contracts Weekly (purchase subscription) Link
Grant applicant listserv for Grants.gov (free subscription, or can search the archives) Link

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