Two schools have been awarded a hefty grant to expand a joint program.

Texas Tech University, in partnership with El Paso Community College will receive a $5.9 million cooperative grant from the Department of Education to expand their 2+2 architecture program, targeting Hispanic students in the El Paso region.

The grant is part of a Hispanic Serving Institutions – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math funding program. Less than 2 percent of the nation’s architects are Hispanic.

The 2+2 joint architecture plan was launched by Texas Tech and El Paso Community College in 2007, with an intent to draw students from the region through El Paso Community College or other regional community colleges, and then later to Texas Tech.

Those participating in the program earn their associate’s degree, then transfer to complete a Bachelor of Science in Architecture through the Texas Tech College of Architecture in El Paso, located on the EPCC Campus. The program has already graduated more than 30 students, and the majority of those are Hispanic.

Andrew Vernooy, dean of Texas Tech’s College of Architecture said “By expanding this model program, we hope to continue increasing the number of Hispanic and other under-served populations of students attaining degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.”

The grant funds will provide funding to expand advising, tutoring and peer mentoring, faculty development, and construction of a joint-use facility.