by Darla Martin Tucker

A federal grant program aimed at addressing inequities in STEM education is under implementation at La Sierra University, which helps at-risk students earn bachelor’s degrees and pursue STEM careers. Directed toward Hispanic and low-income students, the grant, Guided Pathways to Success in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is funded by a $3 million Title V award received in October 2019 from the U.S. Department of Education.

“We believe that students shouldn’t be limited by barriers to success because of their circumstances,” said Dr. Marvin Payne, Director of Title V Programs at La Sierra University. “Our programs are helping to break down the barriers.”

The funding supports development, improvement and expansion of programs that increase equitable access to STEM degree programs and improve graduation rates, bolstering the STEM workforce. The university, whose student body is more than 45% Hispanic, was among 43 colleges and universities around the country approved to receive a Title V STEM grant through the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions program in 2019.

This is the second Title V grant for the university – the first five-year grant of $2.6 million began in October 2015 for implementation of a summer intensive in math, college prep courses to boost student confidence and other programs aimed at student success. Entitled Closing The Gap: A Holistic Approach To A Degree Completion Pathway for Hispanics, the grant was specifically designed to help at-risk freshmen succeed in foundational courses, adjust to the rigors of college academics and inspire them toward degree completion.