Wenatchee Valley College has a new federal grant program in place under the Title V initiative, which supports Hispanic Serving schools. 

WVC was designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution in 2021 and received its first grant this year. 

WVC Title V director Vanessa Saldivar says the program is focused on serving Latinx, low-income, and first-generation students. 

"This includes enrollment and retention," said Saldivar. "But just as important, the program also aims to improve the institutional culture of Wenatchee Valley College for Latin, low-income, and first-generation students." 

Saldivar will spend the next five years distributing almost $2.8 million in grant money at the college. 

Vanessa Saldivar - Title V HSI grant director at Wenatchee Valley College
Vanessa Saldivar - Title V HSI grant director at Wenatchee Valley College

Hispanic Serving Institutions are required to have 25 percent Hispanic enrollment. 

But Saldivar says the grant program goes far beyond enrollment.  

"This is in service of truly serving them," Saldivar said. "So, that means not just enrolling them, but doing intentional work around how they are doing at the college. That's what this grant is for, is to strengthen their experience and improve their outcomes." 

The grant money is coming through the U.S Department of Education. WVC will receive $490,245 for the first year of the grant, with funding over the course of five years totaling $2,750,338.  

The college successfully secured the funding in its very first attempt to apply for the grant this year. 

It'll be used for The Puente: Bridges to HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution) Excellence project, which assists Latinx, low-income, and first-generation students at WVC. 

Saldivar has dedicated her career to working with and on behalf of underrepresented and marginalized groups in a variety of settings.  

Prior to joining WVC, Saldivar held leadership roles in programs that advanced social justice, most recently at Get Outdoors Leadville!, a Colorado organization that worked to increase equitable access to the outdoors, where she served as executive director. In that role, she oversaw a diverse grant portfolio of over $5 million. 

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