Mercer County CC earns Hispanic-serving institution designation

Mercer County Community College has earned the designation of Hispanic-Serving Institution from the U.S. Department of Education, the school announced Monday.

To make a school eligible for this designation, the U.S. DOE completes an assessment that requires the designee to have at least a 25% enrollment of full-time students who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino. MCCC met this criteria based on Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or IPEDS, data.

The designation also requires that criteria be met pertaining to the enrollment of low-income students and university cost per student.

MCCC President Deborah Preston was thrilled by the news.

“This federal designation is a significant milestone toward reducing barriers to higher education and creating an inclusive environment with equitable outcomes for all students,” she said. “It will allow us to continue providing the tools needed to empower our Hispanic and Latino students, and, ultimately, the broader community.”

In 2023, President Joe Biden’s administration awarded more than $40 million to HSIs around the U.S. to expand educational opportunities, strengthen resources and improve retention of Hispanic and Latino students and the institutions preparing them for the future.

This designation provides opportunities to apply for grants within the Titles III and V programs. It also allows MCCC to tap into other resources, including waiver eligibility of the non-federal share matching requirements under the Federal Work Study Program, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program and the TRIO Student Support Services Program that are intended to enhance academic programs, facilities and services that expand educational opportunities for Hispanic Americans.

Mercer County Executive Dan Benson applauded the announcement.

“Congratulations to the faculty and staff at MCCC for their hard work and continued dedication to meeting the needs of our growing Hispanic community, and all our students,” he said. “This national designation, combined with the college’s mission to support lifelong learners, is a huge step on the pathway toward equitable academic opportunities for all students, their families and the community we are committed to serving.”