Gavilan College media contact:
Jan Bernstein Chargin
Director - Public Information
CELL (408) 843-8691

(Gavilan College file photo taken prior to COVID-19)
Gavilan College awarded $600,000 per year for 5 years to improve degree and certificate completion for Hispanic students


The United State Department of Education (DOE) has awarded Gavilan College a grant of $600,000 per year for five years through the Developing Hispanic–Serving Institutions (DHSI) Program, under Title V of the Higher Education Act. The college was notified of the award by letter earlier this month.
Title V grants are awarded through a competitive application process. This year, 249 grant applications were reviewed by the DOE, and 118 grant awards were awarded. The maximum award size per grant award is $600,000 per year for a period of 5 years. Total national funding for the new awards was $69,354,131.

The Gavilan College proposal, titled Juntos Avanzamos (Advancing Together)—Mobilizing Gavilan’s Ethos of Care seeks to improve the success of Hispanic students in completing degrees and certificates at the college. By creating systems that will better inform students of services and opportunities, all students may benefit from the work of this grant.
Fast Facts:
  • Title V Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) grant
  • $3 Million over five years ($600,000 annually)
  • Supports Guided Pathways and equity work that is already underway
Grant Goals
  1. Reinvigorate the Gavilan student experience by making career central, not peripheral, to the academic experience.
  2. Develop an innovative coordinated care approach customized to the strengths and needs of Hispanic students that fosters a college culture of inclusion, engagement and excellence through improved communication, coordination and collaboration, and makes equity a top priority.
  3. Increase student outcomes and close equity gaps to ensure alignment with state-mandated performance-based funding focused on student equity and student success.
Grant Strategies
Seamless matriculation – Making transparent the connection between academic planning, financial literacy and aid, and career planning.
  • Redesigned orientation
  • First Year experience class
Integrated High-touch Support - Adapting Guided Pathways practices and the network of care to the strengths and needs of Hispanic students
  • El Centro, a new student needs (food, housing, etc.) and financial coaching service center.
  • Integrated academic and student support
  • Case management system with frequent communication
  •  Internship opportunities, particularly targeting Latinx students

Equity Climate Shift - Drive a college culture shift to embrace the identity of a Hispanic-Serving Institution
  • Common peer-advisor tutor training focused on equity principles and service.
  • Latino faculty mentoring program
  • Equity training certificate for faculty and staff.
  • Faculty internship program for students and community members interested in becoming faculty
Gavilan’s Hispanic students are much more likely to be low-income than their peers, and as a group, the sacrifices they must make to attend college are much more impactful on their lives. Many students struggle with basic needs such as food and shelter, and staying in college often becomes secondary to survival. Providing students with the tools and understanding to take control of their financial lives is now understood as essential to improving equity in completion of degree and certificate programs.
Many Hispanic students are the first in their families to attend college, and may lack support and preparation for the demands of higher education. Their families often face heavy financial burdens forcing students to work long hours and therefore only interact with the campus in a minimal way. They may feel like they don’t belong, as well as a lack of trust that college can really be a path to a better life. Studies have shown that most students decide within the first six weeks of attending a new college whether they feel like they belong at that institution. To foster an early sense of belonging, the college must make conscious efforts to create opportunities for community and make students aware of the resources available to them, and these efforts must be focused on reaching all students at the beginning of their first term at the college. This grant will help to strengthen the integration between student services and instruction in key first year courses.
A key ingredient is bringing academic supports into the classroom. This is shown to increase student participation in support services when compared with less intrusive, out-of-class services, which can be hard to access for students who have the burden of long work hours to make ends meet. Gavilan College in recent years has introduced many services aimed at “serving the whole student” (e.g., food pantry, mental health services) or partnered with community organizations that provide them (e.g., social services and legal clinics. However, it is not enough to have effective services if they are not easily accessible, or if it is left to students to figure out how and when to use them. The neediest students have been shown to be the least likely to be able to connect themselves with services that can help them. In the case of accessing financial aid, too few students apply. Though it is difficult to tell just how many students are “leaving money on the table,” it is known that only 36% of all Gavilan students receive financial aid, which is below the expected rate given the socioeconomic indicators in the service area. Hispanic students are underrepresented among financial aid recipients. Gavilan is not alone in facing this challenge, but Hispanic students at Gavilan may be harmed more than those at other schools due to the dramatic disparities in financial resources when compared to their more affluent peers.
Juntos Avanzamos seeks to improve student success by building equity with action. It builds upon the Guided Pathways effort already underway at Gavilan College and other existing and planned efforts, and is designed to be integrated across the college, rather than encapsulated.
More information about this grant can be found on the college website under Title V Grant.

The Gavilan Joint Community College District is comprised of 2,700 square miles encompassing southern Santa Clara and most of San Benito County. In an environment that cultivates creativity, stimulates curiosity and emphasizes student learning, Gavilan College serves its community by providing high quality educational and support services that prepare students for transfer, technical and public service careers, life-long learning and participation in a diverse global society.