HSI Funding

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How did UC Davis become a Hispanic Serving Institution?

To learn more about the full scope of our efforts to become an HSI, visit the HSI Taskforce Homepage.

How does our HSI status affect my ability to get funding?

For most researchers at UC Davis, our HSI status affects your funding prospects in two ways: (1) by granting access to HSI-specific funding opportunities, and (2) by increasing your competitiveness for general funding opportunities.

  • HSI-specific funding opportunities: Several major federal agencies (NSF, NIH, DoEd, NEH, and more) have allocated funds for HSI-specific grant programs. Only officially-designated Hispanic Serving Institutions are eligible to apply for these funds. This means that, as a faculty member at an HSI, you now have access to new funding opportunities that were not available to you before. To get updates on HSI-specific opportunities in your field, sign up for the Office of Research’s Weekly Research Funding Updates.
  • General funding opportunities: For all other (non-HSI-specific) funding opportunities, working at an HSI still gives you an advantage. This is because most federal agencies give preference to applications from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) such as HSIs. As a result, including a reference to UC Davis’s HSI status may give you an additional boost during review—even if you are submitting an application to a program you’ve submitted to in the past.

How do I appropriately reference our HSI status in my grant applications? Where in the applications should I reference it?

If the program you are applying to requires proof of our official designation as an HSI, please contact the Interdisciplinary Research Support (IRS) team in the Office of Research for the proper documentation.

For advice on referencing our HSI status in other sections of your grant proposal, please log in to the IRS Sharepoint Site and consult the “Quickstart Guide to HSI Funding at UC Davis” located in the main folder (available early March, 2019).

Do I need to do research on Hispanic communities to receive HSI funding?

No. The purpose of the HSI program is not to change the research our faculty do – the purpose is to increase the ability of Hispanic students to gain access to (and experience with) that research. Like all students, Hispanic students need to learn math and science, writing and rhetoric, and intercultural communication. So as long as you include plans to incorporate Hispanic students into your education and outreach activities, researchers and scholars of any discipline should feel welcome to apply for HSI funding.

  • Institutional transformation grants: The one exception to this general rule is for institutional transformation grants. These are large, multimillion-dollar grants supporting research or new interventions related to the recruitment and retention of Hispanic students. Funding agencies providing IT grants include NSF, USDA, NEH, and the Department of Education.
  • Because these grants must be coordinated at the campus-wide level, faculty interested in submitting an institutional transformation grant should contact Raquel Aldana, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Diversity, for further information.

Doesn’t Proposition 209 prevent us from creating education or outreach programs for specific groups of underrepresented students?

Proposition 209, a 1996 voter initiative now codified in the California State Constitution, prevents state institutions (including the UC) from granting preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin (read the full text here).

In the case of HSI funding, however, the UC Office of the President’s guidelines on Proposition 209 make it clear that the restrictions of this law do not apply to HSI initiatives. This is because HSI programming is designed to “level the informational playing field,” not provide preferential treatment: “The University may, as part of a comprehensive program of outreach, target or increase specific efforts within [a] program to reach particular groups where the program’s benefits are available broadly to other groups, and the special efforts are necessary to reach the targeted group’s members effectively.”

For further guidance on Prop 209, please consult the 2015 guidelines published by UCOP.

Is anyone on campus available to help me write my proposal?

There are numerous resources on campus to help you write any kind of grant proposal, including those related to HSI opportunities.

If you want to: