Latinos are historically underrepresented in institutions of higher education. This is not an issue for Las Positas College.
An opportunity for funding that LPC could benefit from in the future does not lie with the solution of more tax dollars. It is based off of the demographics of the school.
“Once we have 25 percent full time equivalent students who are Latino, then we are eligible to apply for federal funds,” Rajinder Samra, Director of Institutional Research and Planning at LPC, said.
It is a federal grant based off of the type of institution LPC can be defined as. Currently, the demographics of Latino students at LPC are at 24.1 percent, rising from 15.7 percent in fall of 2008.
The reason for this drastic change in number is because of the population of the community that LPC serves.
“The local population changes. We’ve had changes in local population that are starting to be reflected in the data,” Samra said.
Once LPC reaches a population comprised of 25 percent full time equivalent Latino students, the school is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and becomes eligible for certain federal grants.
“Because our sister college Chabot has a higher Latino population and they’ve passed 25 percent already, they’re in the process of applying,” Samra said. “That means hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding if the grants are awarded.”
Even though the reason LPC can receive these grants is based off of one ethnicity, all students will benefit from the funds.
“It would be given out in terms of supporting certain programs on campus,” Samra said. “It would have to get back to how the grant is worded, what the purpose is, how they’re going to use the funds. That would be our opportunity to specify how we believe the funds would benefit our students.”
As a multiyear award, LPC would receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds from the federal grant annually if the application is approved and goes through. The addition of these funds is expected to help students further attain their educational goals at LPC.
“It has an immediate effect on our population, on our students,” Samra said. “We have to recognize that, and because our community is changing and so forth, we have to be sure we’re doing the outreach to our community.”