University of Puerto Rico’s Río Piedras and Mayagüez campuses will split more than $1 million in grant money awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to “enhance the ability of these colleges and universities to support underserved students and develop a skilled American work force.”
While the UPR in Mayagüez will receive $800,000, the Río Piedras campus will get $289,000 in grant money through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
“By 2025, nearly one-quarter of our nation’s college-age population will be Latino, yet we aren’t seeing enough of these students receive college and university degrees,” said Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “Our goal is to make college education more accessible at institutions dedicated to serving the Hispanic population, while training the next generation of food and agricultural researchers who will play a key role in solving the major challenges before us.”
The grants announced today, totaling $8.8 million, will support programs that address critical issues, including: global food security and hunger, climate change, bio-based energy development, childhood obesity and food safety. Some of these grants establish collaborations between two-year colleges, four-year institutions and high schools.
They also support collaborations between the HSIs and USDA agencies such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Forest Service, Food and Nutrition Service, Agricultural Research Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Currently, more than 300 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (with at least 25 percent Hispanic undergraduate full-time enrollment) are dedicated to meeting the educational needs of the Hispanic community.
These institutions are located in 17 states plus Puerto Rico and serve more than 2 million students in areas with the largest growing Hispanic communities in the country, the USDA said.