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Texas School Receives Grant to Support Hispanic Graduate Students Online

The U.S. Department of Education awarded the School of Education at the University of St. Thomas in Houston a $2.8 million Title V Education Grant to fund the Promoting Post Baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (PPOHA) Program. The purpose of the education grant is to implement programs to achieve parity among Hispanic graduate students and other underserved groups in retention and graduation rates.

The education grant will offer two options for students seeking a master's degree in education (MEd): 1) a complete online degree MEd, or 2) a hybrid master's degree that combines online classes with traditional face-to-face classes.

"This grant will not only infuse the master in education program with technology, it will also provide flexible course delivery for working adult students," said Dr. Robert LeBlanc, UST School of Education dean. "We will concentrate our efforts on achieving Hispanic graduate student enrollment that mirrors the percentage of Hispanics in Houston and the surrounding area."

The University of St. Thomas will begin teaching graduate education online courses in the fall of 2010. Scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 will be awarded to Hispanic and low-income students in the second through fifth years of the grant. Graduate student fellowships are proposed to increase enrollment of Hispanics and low-income students in UST graduate programs.

Proposed solutions include increasing the information technology infrastructure for online and hybrid delivery of six masters-level education courses per year in the areas of dual language instruction, special education and education administration. By increasing access to and completion of these programs, the University of St. Thomas will not only boost enrollment but also help to fill the critical shortages of P-12 masters-level educators in these areas.

"UST's master's education graduates are leaders who will train other teachers and thus have an influence far beyond a single classroom," UST President Dr. Robert Ivany said. "The success of this program will impact the educational pipeline for Hispanics at virtually every level."

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