Hispanic Serving Institutions Education Grants


The objective of this program is to promote and strengthen the ability of Hispanic-Serving Institutions to carry out higher education programs in the food and agricultural sciences. These programs aim to attract outstanding students and produce graduates capable of enhancing the Nation's food and agricultural scientific and professional work force. Grants under this program will be awarded to:

(1) support the activities of consortia of Hispanic-Serving Institutions to enhance educational equity for underrepresented students;

(2) strengthen institutional educational capacities including libraries, curriculum, faculty, scientific instrumentation, instruction delivery systems, and student recruitment and retention, in order to respond to identified State, regional, national, or international educational needs in the food and agricultural sciences;

(3) attract and support undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented groups in order to prepare them for careers related to the food, agricultural, and natural resource systems of the United States, beginning with the mentoring of students at the high school level and continuing with the provision of financial support for students through their attainment of a doctoral degree; and

(4) facilitate cooperative initiatives between two or more Hispanic-Serving Institutions, or between Hispanic-Serving Institutions and units of State government or the private sector, to maximize the development and use of resources, such as faculty, facilities, and equipment, to improve food and agricultural sciences teaching programs.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2014: For FY 2014:

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, a total of $ 9.2 million was available. A total of 53 different institutions from 9 states and Puerto Rico submitted 78 proposals for consideration for funding for this year, the eighteenth year of the program. Institutions submitting proposals were from the following states: Arizona (2), California (22), Florida (4), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (3), New York (3), Texas (13), Washington (1), and Puerto Rico (4). These proposals requested a total of $32,665,614 in USDA funding. In FY 2014, we funded 7 collaboration continuation, 2 continuation STEAM, 4 new STEAM, and 6 new regular projects. Fiscal Year 2015: For FY 2015:
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, a total of $ 9.2 million is available to support projects. A total of 8 states and Puerto Rico submitted 53 proposals for consideration for funding for this year, the eighteenth year of the program. Institutions submitting proposals were from the following states: Arizona (3), California (10), Florida (2), Illinois (3), New Mexico (2), New York (1), Texas (24), Washington (1), and Puerto Rico (7). These proposals requested a total of $11,831,875.00 in USDA funding. In June 30, the grant applications were evaluated by a 16 member peer review panel comprised of faculty members from land-grant and non-land-grant universities, members from private industry, and representatives of the Federal government. Panelists represented various academic areas including business, agriculture, natural resources, forestry, veterinary medicine, family and consumer sciences, and closely allied disciplines. Based on the peer review deliberations, funds were available to support 30 grants to 23 lead institutions in seven states and Puerto Rico. Each project has planned some form of collaboration and coordination efforts with a local USDA office. Fiscal Year 2016: For FY 2016:

According to the NIFA FY16 budget, $9.2 million will be available to support the HSI grants. The FY16 HSI’s RFA will be published in October 2015. Funds for four Collaboration-continuation and 4 STEAM continuation awards will be provided.
This program is administered under the provisions of section 1455 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977, as amended (NARETPA) (7 U.S.C. 3241) pursuant to section 815 of Public Law 104-127 and Public Law 110-246. Section 1455 of NARETPA, as reauthorized by section 7128 of Public Law 110-246, provides the Secretary of Agriculture with the authority to make competitive grants (or grants without regard to any requirement for competition) to Hispanic-Serving Institutions for the purpose of promoting and strengthening the ability of Hispanic-Serving Institutions to carry out education, applied research, and related community development programs., 7 U.S.C 3241.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Hispanic serving institutions are eligible to receive funds under this program. "Hispanic serving institutions" means an institution of higher education which, at the time of application, has an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic students, and which

(1) admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such certificate;

(2) is a public or other nonprofit institutions accreditted by a nationally recognized accrediting body; and (3) is legally authorized to provide a program of education beyond the secondary level for which a 2-year associate, baccalaureate, or higher degree is awarded. Applications may be submitted by, and awards may only be made to, public or other non-profit Hispanic-Serving Institutions as defined in the definitions section of this solicitation.

For the purposes of this program, the individual branches of a State university system or public system of higher education that are separately accredited as degree granting institutions are treated as separate institutions eligible for awards. Accreditation much be by an agency or association recognized by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education. Institutions also must be legally authorized to offer at least a two-year program of study creditable toward an associate's or bachelor's degree. Separate branches or campuses of a college or university that are not individually accreditted as degree granting institutions are not treated as separate institutions.

To be eligible for competitive consideration for an award under this program, a Hispanic-Serving Institution must at the time of application:

(1) certify that it has an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic students; and

(2) provide assurances that not less than 50 percent of the institution's Hispanic students are low-income individuals as defined in the definitions section of this solicitation.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Hispanic serving institutions, as identified above, are eligible to receive funds under this program.
Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and System for Award Management (SAM) - each applicant (unless excepted under 2 CFR § 25.110(b) or (c), or has an exception approved by the Federal awarding agency under 2 CFR § 25.110(d)) is required to: (i) Be registered in SAM before submitting its application; (ii) provide a valid DUNS number in its application; and (iii) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency. It also must state that the Federal awarding agency may not make a Federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the Federal awarding agency is ready to make a Federal award, the Federal awarding agency may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant.

Applicants must furnish the information required in the request for applications (RFAs). Successful applicants recommended for funding must furnish the information and assurances requested during the award documentation process. These include, but are not limited to the following:

Organizational Management Information - Specific management information relating to an applicant shall be submitted on a one time basis, with updates on an as needed basis, as part of the responsibility determination prior to the award of a grant identified under this RFA, if such information has not been provided previously under this or another NIFA program. NIFA will provide copies of forms recommended for use in fulfilling these requirements as part of the preaward process. Although an applicant may be eligible based on its status as one of these entities, there are factors which may exclude an applicant from receiving Federal financial and nonfinancial assistance and benefits under this program (e.g., debarment or suspension of an individual involved or a determination that an applicant is not responsible based on submitted organizational management information). This information collection is approved under OMB Circular Control No. 0524-0026, “Assurance of Compliance with the Department of Agriculture Regulations Assuring Civil Rights, Compliance and Organization Information.”. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
All RFAs are published on the Agency’s website and Grants.gov. Applicants must complete the Grants.gov registration process. Please see the following Grants.gov link for more information: http://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp. An environmental impact statement is required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Applications should be submitted as outlined in the RFA. Applications must follow the instructions provided per Grants.Gov and in the Agency guide to submitting applications via Grants.gov.
Award Procedure
Applications are subjected to a system of peer and merit review in accordance with section 103 of the Agricultural Research, Extension and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 7613) by a panel of qualified scientists and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal. Within the limit of funds available for such purpose, the NIFA Authorized Departmental Officer (ADO) shall make grants to those responsible, eligible applicants whose applications are judged most meritorious under the procedures set forth in the RFA.

Reviewers will be selected based upon training and experience in relevant scientific, extension, or education fields, taking into account the following factors: (a) The level of relevant formal scientific, technical education, or extension experience of the individual, as well as the extent to which an individual is engaged in relevant research, education, or extension activities; (b) the need to include as reviewers experts from various areas of specialization within relevant scientific, education, or extension fields; (c) the need to include as reviewers other experts (e.g., producers, range or forest managers/operators, and consumers) who can assess relevance of the applications to targeted audiences and to program needs; (d) the need to include as reviewers experts from a variety of organizational types (e.g., colleges, universities, industry, state and Federal agencies, private profit and non-profit organizations) and geographic locations; (e) the need to maintain a balanced composition of reviewers with regard to minority and female representation and an equitable age distribution; and (f) the need to include reviewers who can judge the effective usefulness to producers and the general public of each application.

Evaluation Criteria will be delineated in the RFA.

2 CFR Part 200 – Subpart C and Appendix I apply to this program.

2 CFR Part 400 applies to this program.
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Section :094 - Deadlines:

Dates for specific deadlines are announced in the RFA each fiscal year.

Information is also available via our website and may be obtained via the Grants.gov website. Respective links are provided below:

Section :095 - Range of Approval/Disapproval Time:
From 30 to 180 days.
2 CFR Part 200 – Subparts D & E apply to this program.
Specific details are provided in the Request for Applications (RFA) each fiscal year.
How are proposals selected?
Within guidelines established for the program as described in the Request for Application (RFA).
How may assistance be used?
Funds may be used to support one or more of the following target areas or additional target areas as identified in the annual program announcement: Curricula design; materials development; library resources; faculty preparation and enhancement for teaching; instruction delivery systems; scientific instrumentation for teaching; student experiential learning; and student recruitment and retention. 1.Award Limitations - Effective FY 2009, a lead institution may receive up to two awards. Institutions could serve as collaborators in many spplications and awards.

2. Funding Limitations - Please see Part II, C.3., Award Size, for maximum budget requests for regular or collaboration project applications. Effective FY 2009, there is no limitation on the amount of funding a single awardee may receive either as a lead institution, a cooperating institution, a subawardee or any combination thereof. The lead institution on a Collaboration Project must retain at least 25 percent and no more than 75 percent of the funds awarded.

3. Use of Funds for Facilities -
Under the Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program, the use of grant funds to plan, acquire, or construct a building or facility is not allowed. With prior approval, in accordance with the cost principles set forth in OMB Circular No. A-21, some grant funds may be used for minor alterations, renovations, or repairs deemed necessary to retrofit existing teaching spaces in order to carry out a funded project. However, requests to use grant funds for such purposes must demonstrate that the alterations, renovations, or repairs are incidental to the major purpose for which a grant is issued.

4. Indirect Costs - Section 720 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 (Pub.L. No. 112-55) limits indirect costs to 30 percent of the total Federal funds provided under each award. Therefore, when preparing budgets, applicants should limit their requests for recovery of indirect costs to the lesser of their institution’s official negotiated indirect cost rate or the equivalent of 30 percent of total Federal funds awarded. Fully discretionary.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Grantees are to submit initial project information and annual summary reports to NIFA’s electronic, Web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submissions of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. The details of the reporting requirements are included in the award terms and conditions. NIFA uses the SF-425, Federal Financial Report to monitor cash. (Pertinent details regarding Progress Reports are provided above.). A final “Financial Status Report” (SF-269) or “Federal Financial Report” (SF-425) is due within 90 days of the expiration date of the grant and should be submitted to the address listed below, in accordance with instructions contained in 2 CFR 3430.55 (also refer to Section 3015.82 of the Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations).

Awards Management Division (AMD)
Office of Grants and Financial Management (OGFM)
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
STOP 2271
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-2271
Telephone: (202) 401-4986. (Pertinent details regarding Performance Monitoring Reports are provided above.).
In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. In accordance with 2 CFR Part 400 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, Subpart F—Audit Requirements nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more during the non-Federal entity’s fiscal year in Federal awards must have a single or program-specific audit conducted for that year in accordance with the provisions of this part. A non-Federal entity that expends less than $750,000 during the non-Federal entity’s fiscal year in Federal awards is exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in § 200.503. Relation to other audit requirements, but records must be available for review or audit by appropriate officials of the Federal agency, pass-through entity, and Government Accountability Office (GAO).

This program is also subject to audit by the cognizant Federal audit agency and the USDA Office of Inspector General.
In accordance with 2 CFR Part 400 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, § 200.333 Retention requirements for records. Grantees shall maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are used for authorized purposes. Grant-related records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and must be retained at least three (3) years. Records must be retained beyond the three (3) year period if litigation is pending or audit findings have not been resolved.

2 CFR Part 200, Subpart D applies to this program.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
This program has no statutory formula.
This program has no matching requirements. Funds are awarded competitively. No formula grants are awarded under Subtitle K of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 [7 U.S.C. 3319e].

NIFA does not require matching or cost sharing support for this program.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
The term of competitive project grants and/or cooperative agreements under this program may not exceed three (3) years.

2 CFR Part 200, Subpart D applies to this program. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
Headquarters Office
USDA, NIFA, National Program Leader, Institute of Youth, Family, and Community, Division of Community and Education, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 2250, Washington , District of Columbia 20250-2250 Email: Policy@nifa.usda.gov Phone: (202) 720-2324 Fax: (202) 720-2030
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Project Grants) FY 14 $8,840,790; FY 15 est $8,840,240; and FY 16 est $8,840,790 - The difference between the appropriation and obligation numbers reflects legislative authorized set-asides deducted as appropriate, and in some cases the availability of obligational authority from prior years.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
If minimum or maximum amounts of funding per competitive project grant or cooperative agreement are established, these will be announced in the annual program announcement or Request for Application (RFA).
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
The following federal statutes and regulations represent general administrative requirements which apply to NIFA federal assistance programs. These include, but are not limited to the ones listed below.

2 CFR Part 25 - Universal Identifier and Central Contractor Registration

2 CFR Part 170 - Reporting Subaward and Executive Compensation Information

2 CFR Part 175 - Award Term for Trafficking in Persons

2 CFR Part 180 and Part 417 - OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Government-Wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) and USDA Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension

2 CFR Part 182 - Governmentwide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)

2 CFR Part 200 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards

2 CFR Part 400 – USDA implementation of 2 CFR Part 200 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards

2 CFR Part 415 - General Program Administrative Regulations

2 CFR Part 416 – USDA General Program Administrative Regulations for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments

2 CFR Part 417 - Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension

2 CFR Part 418 - New Restrictions on Lobbying

2 CFR Part 421 - Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)

2 CFR Part 422—Research Institutions Conducting USDA-Funded Extramural Research; Research Misconduct.

7 CFR Part 1, subpart A—USDA implementation of the Freedom of Information Act and 7 CFR Part 3404, Public Information.

7 CFR Part 1c—USDA Implementation of the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects

7 CFR Part 3—USDA implementation of OMB Circular No. A-129 regarding debt collection

7 CFR Part 15, subpart A—USDA implementation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended

7 CFR Part 331 and 9 CFR Part 121—USDA implementation of the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002

7 CFR Part 3407—USDA procedures to implement the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended

7 CFR Part 3418—Stakeholder Input Requirements for Recipients of Agricultural Research, Education, and Extension Formula Funds

7 CFR Part 3419—Matching Funds Requirement for Agricultural Research and Extension Formula Funds at 1890 Land–Grant Institutions, Including Tuskegee University, and at 1862 Land–Grant Institutions in Insular Areas

7 CFR Part 3430—Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-formula Financial Assistance Programs--General Award Administrative Provisions

7 CFR Part 3434—Hispanic–Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities Certification Process

29 U.S.C. 794 (section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973) and 7 CFR Part 15b (USDA implementation of statute) —prohibiting discrimination based upon physical or mental handicap in federally-assisted programs

35 U.S.C. 200 et seq. —Bayh Dole Act, controlling allocation of rights to inventions made by employees of small business firms and domestic nonprofit organizations, including universities, in federally-assisted programs (implementing regulations are contained in 37 CFR Part 401)

44 U.S.C. 3551-3558 (Pub. L. 113–283) - Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA). Applies to awardees if it will collect, store, process, transmit, or use information on behalf of NIFA.

Executive Order 13513, Federal Leadership on Reducing Text Messaging while Driving (Oct. 1, 2009).

NIFA Federal Assistance Policy Guide—a compendium of basic NIFA policies and procedures that apply to all NIFA awards, unless there are statutory, regulatory, or award-specific requirements to the contrary.

In addition, the following represent Program-Specific requirements:

7 CFR Part 3400 – Special Research Grants Program (for CFDA 10.200)

7 CFR Part 3401—Rangeland Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.200)

7 CFR Part 3402—Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program (CFDA 10.210).

7 CFR Part 3403—Small Business Innovation Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.212)

7 CFR Part 3405—Higher Education Challenge Grants Program (CFDA 10.217)

7 CFR Part 3406—1890 Institution Capacity Building Grants Program (CFDA 10.216)

7 CFR Part 3415 – Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.219)

7 CFR Part 3431—Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (CFDA 10.313)

Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2014: For FY 2014:

Texas State University at San Marcos continuation collaboration project will fund 50 community college students from Laredo Community College, Palo Alto College, or Northwest Vista College and 12 graduate students to help administer the program. The community college students transferred to Texas State University and major in agriculture, nutrition, or related sciences. During this funding period, 50 scholar Hispanic students will be involved in training to become certified by the Department of Homeland Security in the course entitled Preparedness and Response to Food and Agriculture Incidents: Management and Planning Level. The 50 scholar students will participate in a one week travelling classroom to the Southwest Border Food Safety and Defense Center where they will be introduced to food safety vulnerabilities through field trips to dairies, food processing factories, the United States/Mexico Livestock Border Crossing, and others.

The opportunity given to the students definitively will make them more aware of employment possibilities in agriculture and government. The project seems very simplistic for achieving long-term goals; however it has the potential of making an impact in the quality of food and agricultural sciences. Some innovations include summer workshops for transferring students to acquaint them with the university. The project supports the USDA strategic goal for food safety. The project has a MANRRS component; MANRRS participants are used to make presentations at feeder high schools as a recruitment strategy.

A consortium comprised of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK), Texas State University-San Marcos (TX State), New Mexico State University (NMSU), and USDA-ARS proposes to establish an educational network to increase the number of Hispanic students enrolled in studies related to Sustainable Energy and facilitate the employment of Hispanics in critical occupations to USDA’s mission in renewable energy and rural development. The breadth and diversity of the faculty involved and the range of resources and activities that are available across the partner institutions and USDA and agricultural research partners provide unique opportunities for students to engage in interdisciplinary Sustainable Energy education, and cutting-edge research. Purpose: BGREEN adopts an integrated approach composed of four key components 1) Outreach & Recruitment, 2) Education, 3) Experiences, and 4) Dissemination directed to advance Sustainable Energy research and education which bases its strength in identified regional and national needs to educate and train future Hispanic sustainable energy leaders. This project is clearly aligned with the all university partners’ strategic missions and visions. Fiscal Year 2015: For FY 2015:

Hostos Community College Food Science A.S. Degree Program: to establish the first Food Science Associate Science degree program in a New York State Community College System.
Cambio: Climate-change Adaptation and Management for Biodiversity to promote Inclusion and Opportunities for Hispanic students in the Fields: Humboldt State University, Reedley College and Bakersfield College will offer students scholarships to pursue degrees in forestry, range management, or soils at Humboldt with an emphasis on climate change impacts.
Florida-Caribbean Consortium for Agriculture Education and Hispanic Workforce Development: to establish a multi-institutional consortium in Florida and Puerto Rico for training underrepresented students in biological and natural sciences for career placement in USDA and other federal agencies. Fiscal Year 2016: For FY 2016:

Funds for four Collaboration-continuation and four STEAM continuation awards will be provided.