Goshen College will receive a grant of just under $3 million over five years through a Title V grant from the U.S. Department of Education, following its induction as a Hispanic-Serving Institution last spring. The grant’s main focus will be on improving resources, expanding the Good Library and contributing to the well-being of students. 

The grant is called Conexiónes por Excelencia (Connections for Excellence) and is only available to a college if it is designated as an HSI, a designation GC received in January of this year. Leading up to it, the college had to reach the required 25% Hispanic enrollment along with 50% of students being eligible for a Pell Grant.

Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean, said that the Title V grant “will support a number of different things … just to help students do better, to have better connections to what their career aspirations are.” Planning for the grant started in June and funding will be released on Oct. 1.

Beth Martin Birky, associate academic dean, was the lead writer for the grant and continues to play an important role in what the school does with Title V funding. According to her, the majority of the money will be spent on expanding library offices, bringing in more faculty and creating a hub for students. 

“The hope is to kind of create this student success center,” Birky said, “but this center is going to be more of a holistic approach that brings both student life and academics together [and] to help students through that first year of transition.”

The bulk of funds will be set aside for the Academic Success Center (ASC) located in the Good Library, according to Gilberto Pérez, Jr., vice president for student life and dean of students. “The primary recipient of the grant is the Academic Success Center, which is housed in the library,” he said, “so the colleagues in the [ASC] will be the ones that will receive the resources from the grant. … They’re already getting a lot of the students that come into their facility for support.”

The plans to expand the Good Library are meant to improve overall student success.

The grant aims to help all students, but will target aid for first-generation Hispanic students. “The services are available for everybody. It isn’t exclusive to [Hispanic students],” Vendrely said, “but I’d say some of the extra things is looking to have more bilingual staff where we can. We have some, but I think there is one new position here that is very focused on working with families.”

The goal of the grant is to allow for more interpersonal help for first-generation students who have financial difficulties while also helping cater to the complete needs of students by improving the quality of help and aid offered by the Academic Success Center.