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Advocacy / Higher Education Act (HEA) 

Higher Education Act (HEA)

HEA Reauthorization a Great Leap Forward for Hispanic Higher Education

Special thanks go out to all who have supported HACU’s HEA agenda.  The July 31, 2008 passage of the Higher Education Act (HEA) Reauthorization by Congress will significantly advance opportunities for Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).  The President signed the bill into law on August 14.

The text of the legislation (PL 110-315) can be accessed by clicking here.  (Section numbers are provided below for your convenience.)

Following is an overview of provisions of the legislation that impact Hispanic higher education.

Title V:

  • Part A – The undergraduate HSI grant program under Title V was reauthorized and the authorization for funding was raised from $62,500,000 for FY 1999 to “$175,000,000 for fiscal year 2009 and such sums as may be necessary for each of the 5 succeeding fiscal years.”  (Actual funding is subject to the annual appropriations process.) (Sections 501-505)
  • A new “Part B--Promoting post baccalaureate opportunities for Hispanic Americans” was created to promote the development or enhancement of graduate programs at HSIs.   The authorization level was set at $100 million for FY 2009 “and such sums as may be necessary for each of the five succeeding fiscal years.”  Again actual funding is subject to annual appropriations.  (Section 502)
  • However, $69 million for six years was mandated as authorized appropriated dollars for the Title V postgraduate program, i.e. $11.5 million is already committed annually.

MSI-specific elements:

  • A new Minority Serving Institution Digital and Wireless Technology Opportunity Program provides competitive grants for eligible MSIs to enable acquiring and augmenting the institution’s use of digital and wireless networking technologies to improve the quality and delivery of educational services at Title III and Title V institutions.  HACU has long advocated for this legislation that will allow MSIs the opportunity to catch up in the area of digital and wireless educational technologies.  (Section 971)
  • The Institute for International Public Policy under Title VI - International Education Programs is directed to create a “Minority Foreign Service Professional Development Program” to enhance the international competitiveness of the U.S. by increasing participation of underrepresented populations (including Hispanic Americans) in the foreign service of the United States.  (Section 612)
  • The Institute is also directed to include Hispanic-Serving Institutions as eligible for participation in the junior year study abroad program and to enter into agreements with Hispanic-Serving Institutions to provide academic year internships during the junior and senior year in addition to summer internships with key federal international agencies.  (Sections 614 and 616)

Other MSI opportunities include:

  • The Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence - a grant program to implement initiatives to promote retention of highly qualified teachers and principals including minority teachers and principals. (Section 242)
  • Institutional Graduate Fellowships Program to prepare a professorate in high-need  areas at colleges of education to prepare highly qualified elementary or secondary school mathematics and science teachers, special education teachers and teachers who provide instruction for limited English proficient students.  (Section 258)
  • YES Partnership Grant Program in STEM fields - Grants for eligible partnerships to support engagement of underrepresented K-12 minority and low income youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.   At least one partner institution of higher education must be either a Title III (developing institution, HBCU, or TCU) or Title V (HSI) eligible institution. (Section 355)