$2.9 million Title V award will benefit graduate programs
The U.S. Department of Education again has smiled upon St. Mary’s University, which has been awarded nearly $2.9 million to expand and enhance its offerings to graduate students.

In a four-week span, St. Mary’s has received about $5.5 million in Title V grants. The most recent grant is through the Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (PPOHA) Program. Last month, the University received more than $2.6 million for its “Fostering Success in STEM Education” project through the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program.

“We are sensitive to the needs of our graduate students, many of whom work full time or have parenting responsibilities,” said University President Thomas Mengler. “This grant will allow us to serve them better. Improving our online offerings and graduate services ensures that more people than ever before will have access to a Catholic, Marianist education.”

Only two other institutions in Texas received a PPOHA grant. St. Mary’s is the only school in San Antonio to receive both a PPOHA grant and a HSI grant. Before this year, St. Mary’s last received a Title V grant in 1999.

“San Antonio is increasingly distinguishing itself as a community dedicated to expanding higher education opportunities,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20). “I’m proud of dedicated institutions like St. Mary’s whose relentless investments in their undergraduate and graduate students from STEM education to online learning is being recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Congratulations to President Mengler, all of the students and staff who will benefit from these great programs.”

The University will receive $2,874,572 over five years for its “Promoting Excellence in Graduate Education” project, which has three initiatives:

Strengthen and expand online graduate program offerings: St. Mary’s will upgrade its distance-learning infrastructure, revise its existing International Relations online program and convert its Software Engineering M.S. and Marriage & Family Therapy M.A. degree programs. Online faculty will become Quality Matters certified instructors.
Develop community-based research opportunities: St. Mary’s will infuse meaningful research opportunities from within the community to boost graduate student engagement.
Support graduate student success: A technology-rich, Graduate Student Success Center will give students a space for collaboration and research. To promote persistence and completion, St. Mary’s will develop targeted services and a system to award scholarships for travel to conferences and fellowships for students with financial need.

Mark Roltsch, Ph.D., Executive Director of Academic Research and Sponsored Projects, and Aaron Tyler, Ph.D., Dean of Graduate Studies, led the task force that developed the grant proposal.

“We are excited about this opportunity to revamp our online learning system and expand our offerings in order to provide increased access to high-quality, flexible programs,” Tyler said. “Distance education is an important next step in our growth as an institution.”

About 550 students will immediately benefit from the grant, and that number is expected to increase from year to year, Tyler said.

The PPOHA Program is authorized under Title V of the Higher Education Act of 1965. According to the Department of Education, the program’s goals are to:

  • Expand postbaccalaureate educational opportunities for Hispanic students and improve their academic success
  • Expand postbaccalaureate academic offerings and enhance program quality in the institutions of higher education that are educating the majority of Hispanic college students and helping large numbers of Hispanic and low-income students complete postsecondary degrees.
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