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HSI Avanzando Grant

Hispanic-Serving Institute

HSI Avanzando Grant

The U.S. Department of Education’s Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program awarded Concordia University Irvine a $3 million grant, the largest federal grant in the university’s history. Concordia’s grant-winning initiative is titled "Avanzando: Access and Success" and will enhance support services for undergraduate Hispanic students. The HSI grant will help Concordia meet the needs of its growing Hispanic population. Concordia is committed to advancing access and success for all students, and to supporting all students’ overall well-being as the university seeks to help them develop as wise, honorable, cultivated citizens.


Concordia University Irvine is a private Christian university in Irvine, CA, with diverse undergraduate and graduate programs across six schools. With a significant Hispanic population in Orange County, many Hispanic and low-income students at Concordia University Irvine are first-generation college students with limited exposure to university resources. To address their needs, the Avanzando: Access and Success project aims to enhance institutional support for these students. The project focuses on increasing enrollment, transfer rates, retention, and graduation rates for Hispanic and low-income students through initiatives like constructing a student success center, expandin support programs, providing coaching and counseling, and offering faculty development. Concordia University Irvine seeks $3,000,000 over five years to fund these efforts, aligning with priorities for student support and postsecondary education accessibility.

Grant Activities


Program Team

Erika Sanchez

Erika Sanchez, MA: HSI Director

Equipped with a bachelor's in Sociology and Biblical studies from Biola University and a Masters in Transformational Urban Leadership (MATUL) from Azusa Pacific University, Erika spent four formative years in the Philippines living in slum communities and launching faith rooted programs that equip and empower urban poor youth to critically address issues of urban poverty, environmental justice, land rights, health, and education in their community. She has 10 years of experience in higher education access work; scholarship development, first-gen support services, etc.  Erika is a proud first generation Latina and Santa Ana native. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Tagalog.

As the HSI Project Director she oversees Concordia University-Irvine's largest federal grant in its history: $3 million from the U.S. Department of Education for its Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program. Her role is to ensure this grant enhances support services for Hispanic students and all Concordia students. 

Joie Annunziato

Joie Annunziato: Academic Advisor and Transfer Success Coach

Hello! My name is Joie (pronounced like “Joey”), and I am so excited to join the Concordia community! I am an alumnus of U.C. Irvine and have my B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior. I am passionate about helping students achieve their goals and succeed in their higher education journey.

A little about me: I love personality tests and all things psychology (I am an Enneagram Type 1 and Myers-Briggs ESTJ). In my free time, I love going on walks, hammocking, listening to podcasts, and spending time with my friends and family.

What I’d love to know about you: your personality type, favorite coffee shop, favorite shop to binge-watch, favorite resource on campus, and how I can better support you!

Gio Brito

Gio Brito: WINGS & First Generation Coordinator 

Hi, everyone! My name is Gio, I serve as the WINGS and HSI Coordinator. I graduated from Concordia back in 2020 and got my B.A in Communications Studies. I'm currently pursuing my Masters in Organizational Leadership here at Concordia!

A little bit about myself, I love cooking, watching soccer, and I am a big Dodgers fan! I love going on adventures with my wife (who I met at Concordia) and we have a dog named Bingo. I am looking forward to getting to know you better and helping you through your journey with us.

Jacob Lange

Jacob Lange: Tutoring Coordinator Success Coach

Hello, everyone! My name is Jacob, and I serve as the Tutoring Coordinator and Success Coach at Concordia University Irvine. I graduated from Concordia with a B.A. in History and Political Thought in 2021 and received an M.A. in History from California State University, Fullerton in 2023. Now, I help oversee the WINGS Program and direct Peer Tutoring Services at Concordia to provide academic support to students. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, reading, playing soccer, and playing my trumpet.

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