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College Officials Announce $2.8 Million U.S. Department of Education Title V Grant Award

Article by: Melinda Eddleman

In Spanish, “senda” means path. Today, Del Mar College (DMC) officials announced that the College has received a $2.8 million U.S. Department of Education Title V grant that will support the new Project SENDA (Students Engaged in Direct Advising) initiative that’s designed to lead more students down a path to success.

The five-year grant began Oct. 1 with DMC receiving $600,000 each year to support the components of the project. Del Mar is one of 31 institutions out of 400 applicants nationwide to receive the Title V grant this year.


This Title V grant will not just benefit, but revolutionize, our student advising and retention efforts over the next five years. Title V assists Hispanic Serving Institutions, such as Del Mar, in expanding educational opportunities for and improving the attainment of Hispanic students. These funds will allow us to enhance our academic offerings, program quality and institutional stability.
Dr. Mark Escamilla, Del Mar College President and Chief Executive Officer

President Escamilla also emphasized that the grant will benefit ALL Del Mar students, along with the components of the Project SENDA initiative.

As a Hispanic Serving Institution, or HSI, the College is dedicated to student success and serving its Hispanic and low-income students. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Del Mar’s student population is Hispanic with the federal government defining HSIs as having at least 25 percent among its full-time enrollment. Additionally, 70 percent of the College’s students receive some form of financial aid.

The Title V grant is providing funds for the faculty-embedded direct-advising program, Project SENDA, to expand this targeted student population’s attainment of post-secondary degrees through greater persistence, focus and pursuit of studies at the baccalaureate level.

What does that mean? Project SENDA will focus on meeting key goals that include reducing completion time, reducing the average number of credits students take toward degree completion and reducing students’ debt.


That path includes supporting an embedded advisor solution and implementing a two-tier faculty advising training and certification process that expands their role of improving student retention, students’ persistence between first- and second-year studies (and beyond) and increased graduation rates. Faculty advisors will have tools to increase students’ success at critical points during their academic careers as part of Project SENDA’s focus on retention.

Project SENDA also means acquiring new and improving current tools such as transfer maps, additional articulation agreements with other colleges and universities and enhanced career exploration using cutting-edge technology to provide “virtual career tours” at campus Welcome Centers.

Additionally, the College will create a culture of financial literacy, implementing solutions encompassing peer financial coaching and mobile apps for managing consumer credit.Overall, 140 faculty will undertake academic, financial and culturally inclusive advisement approaches to address the needs of Del Mar’s Hispanic and low-income students.

Before receiving the Title V grant, the College was already heading down the path toward increased student success through Guided Pathways, a model that explores students’ interests to determine a clear pathway to reach graduation and a career. Del Mar’s current Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP, also focuses on improving student advising.

Recently approved by the College’s Board of Regents, Del Mar’s 2019-2022 Strategic Plan, “Aspire. Engage. Achieve.” is centered on student success.


This Strategic Plan emphasizes student advising as a core focus for expansion and improvement, giving students the information and tools they need to make the best decisions for their education and careers. The Title V grant will enhance the College’s capacity to put students on their path to success like never before.
Carol A. Scott, DMC Board of Regents Chair

President Escamilla noted, “The Coastal Bend region is experiencing a period of booming economic growth driven by new and expanding industries, and this growth means jobs. The goal of Project SENDA is to do all we can to increase the number of our students who can take advantage of the career opportunities proliferating in this area.”

He added, “Isn’t this what Del Mar has been doing already, all this time? Absolutely. But we can do better, and we can do more.”

Project SENDA committee members include Beth Lewis, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief academic officer; Rito Silva, Ph.D., vice president for Student Affairs; Kristina Wilson, Ed.D., dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment; Raul Garcia, vice president and chief financial officer; Lenora Keas, vice president of Workforce Development and Strategic Initiatives; Leticia Wilson, director of Advising Initiatives; and Dale Anderson, Ph.D., assistant professor of speech. Leticia Wilson and Dr. Anderson alsoo serve on the QEP committee with Christine Gottemoller, assistant professor of political science.

Watch the full announcement below:

About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.