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Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI Program)

Grants to USA IHEs to Enhance Undergraduate
STEM Programs for Minority Populations

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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National Science Foundation (NSF)

Deadline Date:

08/25/21 5:00 PM Submitter's Local Time - Deadline for Track 1 and Track 2


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Grants to USA Hispanic-serving IHEs for projects that enhance undergraduate education for Hispanic populations in STEM disciplines. Funding is intended to increase the number of students studying and graduating with majors or minors in STEM fields to increase their presence in the STEM workforce.

The goals of the HSI program are to enhance the quality of undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and to increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of students pursuing associates or baccalaureate degrees in STEM. Achieving these, given the diverse nature and context of the HSIs, requires additional strategies that support building capacity at HSIs through innovative approaches: to incentivize institutional and community transformation; and to promote fundamental research (i) on engaged student learning, (ii) about what it takes to diversify and increase participation in STEM effectively, and (iii) that improves our understanding of how to build institutional capacity at HSIs. Intended outcomes of the HSI Program include broadening participation of students that are historically underrepresented in STEM and expanding students' pathways to continued STEM education and integration into the STEM workforce.

The need for tailored initiatives, policies, and practices (mindful of socio-cultural awareness) should meet the students' needs and institutions' expectations while advancing undergraduate students at HSIs toward higher levels of academic achievement in STEM. This is the motivation behind three HSI program tracks:

  • Track 1: The Planning or Pilot Projects (PPP) track provides a funding opportunity for institutions that are new to NSF[5] or are Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs [6]), including community colleges. The PPP has been designed to link with the other two tracks. The PPP track seeks to enhance undergraduate STEM education and build capacity at less-resourced institutions and to increase these institutions' ability to compete for NSF funding from other programs.
  • Track 2: The Implementation and Evaluation Projects (IEP) track supports the implementation of evidence-based unit-, department-, or multi-department-level activities that will enhance the quality of undergraduate STEM education. All HSI institution types are encouraged to apply, especially PUIs (including community colleges). These projects may design and implement a new educational practice or practices, and/or adapt/replicate evidence-based practices that are already known to be effective.
  • Track 3: The Institutional Transformation Projects (ITP) track supports institution-wide structural or systemic changes to enhance undergraduate STEM education at the proposing HSI. The ITP must be grounded in STEM education research and broadening participation research and be designed to make institutional infrastructure and policy changes to support long-term institutional changes that encourage and support faculty in implementing evidence-based practices that enhance student outcomes in STEM at the proposing HSI.

All tracks may support faculty research that is inter-, multi-, or trans-disciplinary, discipline-specific research, STEM education research, discipline-based STEM education research, or broadening participation research.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182939

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Estimated Number of Awards: 20 to 37 (Track 1: 15-25); Track 2: Up to 10: Track 3: 1 or 2 per year)

Estimated Size of Grant:

Award Ceiling: $3,000,000

Track 1 Projects:
- $200,000 - single institution
- $300,000 - collaborative
- Plus $100,000 incentive to partner with one or more community colleges

Track 2:
- $500,000 - single institution
- $800,000 - collaborative
- Plus $200,000 incentive to partner with one or more community colleges

Track 3: up to $3M.

Term of Contract:

Track 1: Two-year-long projects

Track 2: Three- to five-year-long projects.

Track 3: Five-year-long projects

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Proposals may only be submitted by non-profit institutions.

To be eligible for HSI funding, an institution must achieve each of the following criteria on or before the proposal deadline date:

- Be an accredited institution of higher education.

- Offer undergraduate STEM educational programs that result in certificates or degrees. Exception note: An institution submitting a PPP Track proposal does not currently need to offer STEM certificates or degrees, but may submit a proposal to develop such programs or enhance the STEM courses provided as part of other degree programs.

- Satisfy the definition of an HSI as specified in section 502 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1101a). The HSI Certification Form is required with submission of the proposal. (See section V of the solicitation.) Institutions should review the legislation before certifying their eligibility for this program at

PPP track proposals will only be accepted from institutions new to NSF or Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) including community colleges. For PUI certification, a representative of the institution submitting as a PUI proposal must sign a Certification of PUI Eligibility (see Section V below for the required template) to be included in the Supplementary Documentation section of the proposal.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Office Hours:

Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) program staff will hold "office hours" for the HSI community and potential PIs who have questions or wish to discuss their projects.

For date/time and Zoom meeting information, please visit

HSI Webinars for Pls:

Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) program officers provided an overview of the new IUSE:HSI Solicitation (NSF 20-599) in a recorded webinar. You can view the video here: A second video has also been made available on the same webpage to provide clarifications and additional information on the HSI program.

Pre-Application Information:

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

February 10, 2021:
Track 1: Planning or Pilot Projects (PPP) and Track 2: Implementation and Evaluation Projects (IEP) full proposal deadline.

February 10, 2021:
Second Wednesday in February, Annually Thereafter: Track 3: Institutional Transformation Projects (ITP) full proposal deadline.

August 25, 2021:
Last Wednesday in August, Annually Thereafter:
Track 1: Planning or Pilot Projects (PPP) and Track 2: Implementation and Evaluation Projects (IEP) full proposal deadline.

A Student Mentoring Plan, as a supplementary document, is now required for all proposals requesting stipends or wages to support undergraduate or graduate students.

The program review process takes approximately 6 months from the proposal deadline.

Full Proposals:

- Full Proposals submitted via FastLane: NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) guidelines apply. The complete text of the PAPPG is available electronically on the NSF website at:
- Full Proposals submitted via NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) guidelines apply. The complete text of the PAPPG is available electronically on the NSF website at:
- Full Proposals submitted via NSF Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via guidelines apply (Note: The NSF Application Guide is available on the website and on the NSF website at:

View this opportunity on

For a list of relevant application documents, go to the Package tab (press Preview) on the link above. 

Program solicitation:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online at

For general inquiries, contact:

Erika Camacho
(703) 292-2834

Jennifer E. Lewis
(703) 292-2938

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:

NSF 20-599

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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