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Rep. Cuellar Announces Over $2.9 Million Grant for New TAMIU ARC Program Posted: 10/07/19

Rep. Cuellar Announces Over $2.9 Million Grant for New TAMIU ARC Program


Henry Cuellar photo
Congressman Henry Cuellar  

A grant totaling over $2.9 million focused on advancing opportunities for Hispanic students seeking Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) graduate degrees in Social Science or in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), was announced at TAMIU Monday by Congressman Henry Cuellar  and TAMIU President Dr. Pablo Arenaz . 

These funds, allocated through the Department of Education’s Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program, will help TAMIU establish its Advanced Curriculum and Research (ARC) Program. 

In announcing the Grant award. Cong. Cuellar said the Grant is focused on students and the future. 

“Our country’s economic competitiveness requires a workforce with a college degree, particularly in the STEM sectors. But the education required to enter these fields is especially challenging or intimidating for some college students,” said Congressman Cuellar, “These funds will provide Hispanic and low-income students with additional resources and guidance to improve student retention and develop the next generation of highly educated minority professionals.” 

Cuellar noted the Award has special significance to him. 

“As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I have worked hard to increase funding for HSIs each year to help students overcome the financial and educational barriers of pursuing higher education. I will continue to fund programs that promote education, especially those which benefit underserved communities. I want to thank TAMIU President, Dr. Pablo Arenaz, and his team for their dedication to improving the college education experience of Hispanic and low-income students in the region,” he said. 

Cuellar said that competition for HSI grants is strong among the nation’s 492 identified HSI institutions.

“These grants are highly competitive among the nation’s HSIs.  In  fiscal year 2020, we secured $150 million for the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program, a $27 million increase from the fiscal year 2019. The program provides grants to assist HSIs to expand educational opportunities for, and improve the attainment of, Hispanic students. These grants also allow HSIs to expand and enhance their academic offerings, program quality, and institutional stability,” he said.

TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz acknowledged Cong. Cuellar’s steadfast support and said the Grant will be truly transformative for the University. 

 “As the University celebrates our 50th Anniversary, the TAMIU ARC Grant firmly positions us for the future.  It will have a transformative effect, catalyzing graduate education across the University. We greatly appreciate Congressman Cuellar’s (’82) visionary partnership in securing this Grant.  TAMIU ARC will truly be a game-changer: improving retention and graduation rates in all graduate programs.  Its special focus on important STEM and social science areas make it an integral component in our quest for TAMIU to reach 10,000 students,” Dr. Arenaz said. 

TAMIU ARC principal investigator Dr. Jennifer Coronado, TAMIU Dean of the Graduate School, said the Grant will be research-based and applicable to HIS graduate programs across the nation. 

“The primary objective of  the TAMIU ARC is to conduct rigorous research to explore models of success for TAMIU graduate students. The centerpiece of this research project will be a long-term study of graduate student program enrollment, retention, graduation, and career placement and/or admission to other post-graduate programs. This study will have applicability to Hispanic Serving graduate programs across the nation,” Dr. Coronado explained.

She outlined the ARC’s seven key elements: 

 “The seven key elements of ARC include: 1) a Rigorous Research Program to explore models of success for our graduate students; 2) a Graduate Success Program comprised of targeted orientation sessions to promote graduate student success, and personnel to support graduate-level writing both within courses and for theses; 3) a Curriculum Enhancement and Expansion Program focused on STEM and social science master’s programs to increase graduate course offerings and improve graduate course content through new technology and library resources that increases student engagement and hands-on learning experiences; 4) a Peer Mentoring Program comprised of a first-year program within science and mathematics graduate programs to improve student success in quantitatively difficult gateway courses; 5) a Professional Development Program including workshops and training support for graduate students, faculty and staff; 6) a Research Support Program for graduate students to increase the dissemination of their research and 7) Investments in the Future through graduate biology course enhancements and an endowment program,” Coronado said. 

She noted that she too believes the Grant will be transformative for the University. 

“The result of TAMIU ARC will be expanded data gathering leading to the analysis of what works and what does not for our graduate students. A dynamic first-year success program for graduate students will transform the University culture to one where a substantially larger proportion of students see themselves as active researchers gaining valuable skills in writing and data analysis,” she concluded.  

Information on TAMIU’s Graduate School and its Programs is available at

For additional information, on the TAMIU ARC Program, contact Dr. Coronado at 956.326.3027, email or visit offices in the Senator Judith Zaffirini Student Success Center, 206.

A Graduate School Open House is scheduled at TAMIU Thursday, Oct. 17 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. in the Zaffirini Student Success Center. 

Throughout 2019-2020, TAMIU is celebrating its 50th anniversary and its 25th  anniversary at its north Laredo campus.  A dedicated website shares the University’s transformation from a hybrid upper-level university to a full doctoral degree-granting University. It traces the University’s history, shares its impact in personal stories, and includes a calendar of Anniversary events and more at

For additional information, contact the TAMIU Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 956.326.2180, email, click on or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.

grant award photo

Congressman Cuellar presents TAMIU with $2.9 million in federal funds to assist in establishing the Advanced Curriculum and Research (ARC) Program. Pictured from left to right: Congressman Cuellar; Dr. John Kilburn,  Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Projects; Dr. Jennifer Coronado, Dean of the Graduate School and TAMIU-ARC Principal Investigator; Anne Frey, Associate Director of Grant Development, and TAMIU President, Dr. Pablo Arenaz.

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