Titus Celebrates CSN Federal Hispanic Serving Institution Designation

Feb 2, 2015
Press Release

February 2, 2015

Washington, D.C.- Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada’s First District issued the following statement today on the College of Southern Nevada’s (CSN) designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). CSN is the first institution in Nevada to achieve this federal status from the U.S. Department of Education, which will allow the college to apply for Title III and Title IV funds under the Higher Education Act. Titus wrote a letter of support for CSN on the importance of this designation to Southern Nevada. 

“Congratulations to the College of Southern Nevada on achieving this important designation,” said Titus. “This milestone accomplishment not only reflects the college’s ongoing commitment to improving access to higher education and enhancing diversity but also to serving our local community. I commend CSN for their hard work and tireless efforts to achieve HSI status, and look forward to continuing our partnership to help all local students succeed.” 

 

A copy of Titus’ letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in support of CSN’s waiver application can be read here:

 

Dear Secretary Duncan,
 
I write today in support of the College of Southern Nevada’s waiver application to become a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HIS) under Title V of the Higher Education Act.
 
The College of Southern Nevada (CSN), located in my Congressional District, is the largest and most ethnically diverse higher education institution in Nevada. CSN applied for this designation in December, and meets all Title V HSI requirements except the needy student threshold which increased by 10 percentage points this year over last year. In the base year (2012 – 2013) 42 percent of CSN’s students were eligible for Pell grants, but CSN fell just short of meeting the new 45 percent needy student threshold.
 
I have reviewed CSN’s waiver application and believe that the college meets three of the six waiver options. CSN has increased the number of support programs it offers each year to assist minority and low-income students. The college is engaged in many collaborative efforts to help low-income and students of color complete courses in their respective degree and certificate programs. In fact, since the base year, the college has employed a number of national best practices for retention and graduation, resulting in an increase in the number of students graduating each year. 
 
While CSN was prepared to apply as a four-year institution and would have qualified under previous year designation criteria, I would like to note that only a small number (fewer than 1 percent) of students are enrolled in upper-division credits in healthcare-related bachelor-degree programs. Had CSN been able to apply for the designation as a two-year institution, it would have met all the criteria.  
 
The Title V Hispanic Serving Institution designation for CSN is a significant milestone for my constituents and all of Nevada. I hope you will agree that CSN has made a strong case for a waiver as an institution that has strategically sought to increase retention and completion of degrees for traditionally underrepresented students. It has a strong reputation for outreach efforts in minority communities, for targeting nontraditional students like working mothers and veterans, and for successfully placing students in appropriate jobs and institutions of higher education. 
 
Thank you for your consideration of this letter during the review process. 

Sincerely, 

Dina Titus
Member of Congress