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

Release Date: May 05, 2023

Gena Alfonso

Director of Marketing/PIO

Marketing, Communications & Community Relations

(719) 671-0929

Colorado State University Pueblo will receive $3 million over the next five years to develop an innovative grant program named Project Exíto. The grant will put into place innovative outreach, advising, and support structures for online graduate education that are “high impact practices” designed to create enriching academic opportunities that foster success for CSU Pueblo’s diverse graduate 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 graduate students in addition to the expansion of online graduate course offerings.  

“We are tremendously excited to expand our online graduate course offerings and put into place additional support structures for academic success, retention, and degree completion for graduate students. The grant will help CSU Pueblo provide greater access to graduate programs and will make pursuing a post-baccalaureate degree more affordable.  Moreover, we will also implement a robust Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative that positively impacts students, faculty, and staff,” Dr. Lopez said.

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

“CSU Pueblo strives to be the ‘people’s university,’ and as such, we recognize that many of our students need access to online courses to complete their graduate degrees. Project Exíto supports and expands our efforts to provide top-notch access to online programming and increases numerous related high-impact practices that will ensure more students complete their degree,” President Mottet said.

Dr. Donna Souder Hodge, Vice President of Operations and Advancement, believes the grant will have a positive impact on campus. “The goals of this grant are important to our institution and include increasing access and enrollment in graduate programs as well as improving student retention and graduation rates.  Project Exíto will also support CSU Pueblo’s efforts to create an environment where diverse students of every demographic will feel as though they have a home,Dr. Souder Hodge said.

To find out more about Project Exíto, contact Dr. Derek Lopez at 719-549-2086, or via email at

Colorado State University Pueblo is a comprehensive state university with an enrollment of nearly 4,000 students. With 34 percent of its students Hispanic, it is a designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), and a military-friendly university. The university is dedicated to interdisciplinary learning and entrepreneurship that elevates its people and community, creates educational opportunities, fosters unique collaborations, and supports inclusion, access, and affordability as a gateway to the world.

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