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CSU Pueblo Receives $3 Million Over Five Years from the U.S. Department of Education to Develop Unique and High Impact Programming for Student Success

Release Date: October 05, 2022

Gena Alfonso

Director of Communications/PIO

Marketing, Communications, Community Relations

(719) 549-2284

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Colorado State University Pueblo will receive $3 million over the next five years to develop an innovative grant program named La Distancia. The grant will put into place innovative advising and support structures for online education that are “high impact practices” designed to create enriching academic opportunities that foster success for CSU Pueblo’s diverse student population. The grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, as part of the Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions Grant Programs.

Dr. Derek Lopez, Associate Vice President of Operations and Advancement, and primary author of the grant, will serve as Project Director for all activities. Grant programming will include establishing a robust and comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program as well as outreach and onboarding for online students in addition to expansion of online courses. 

“The university is delighted to expand our online course offerings and put into place additional support structures for academic success, retention, and graduation for online students. The grant will help CSU Pueblo provide greater access to higher education and will make pursing a degree more affordable.  Moreover, we will also implement robust Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative that impacts students, faculty, and staff,” Lopez said.

CSU Pueblo President Dr. Timothy Mottet believes the high-impact programming is particularly significant for the students at CSU Pueblo.

“The grant activities support the development of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan that will be the foundation for furthering our efforts in fostering an environment that creates a sense of belonging for each and every student at CSU Pueblo,” said Mottet. “CSU Pueblo is the ‘people’s university,’ and as such, we recognize that many of our students need online courses to progress in their degree completion, this Title V grant supports and expands our efforts to do so and will help more students to complete their degree,” said Mottet.

La Distancia programming will provide personal contact with online students from initial enrollment through graduation. Faculty will help students navigate the academic program components, while success coaches will focus on academic success and progression to graduation.

Dr. Donna Souder Hodge, Vice President of Operations and Advancement, believes the grant will have a positive impact on campus. “La Distancia will support CSU Pueblo’s efforts to create an environment where diverse students of every demographic will feel as though they have a home,” said Souder Hodge.

“Greater access to online courses is going to benefit our region, and our ability to successfully expand support systems for online students will change the landscape of higher education for our community and beyond,” said Souder Hodge.

To find out more about La Distancia, contact Derek Lopez at 719-549-2086, or via email at

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