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HACU and Alliance for Equity in Higher Education urge new federal support for minority higher education
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) today joined the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education to urge new support from Congress for the higher education needs of the nation’s fast-growing minority populations.

Alliance leaders, at a news conference today in Washington, D.C., called on the 108th Congress to address a series of proposals to enhance the needs of the nation’s “emerging majority” populations in its pending vote on the five-year reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act will determine federal spending policies for all U.S. higher education institutions for the next five years.

The Alliance for Equity in Higher Education is a consortium established by HACU representing the nation’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), the American Indian Higher Education Consortium representing Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, representing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). HSIs have a student enrollment that is at least 25 percent Hispanic.

Speaking on behalf of the nation’s youngest and largest ethnic population, HACU President Antonio R. Flores, is urging substantial new support for HSIs, which currently receive significantly less federal support per student on average than any other group of degree-granting institutions. Flores said, “All Minority-Serving Institutions represented by the Alliance must receive adequate federal funding to meet the needs of diverse, minority student populations that also make up the fastest-growing segment of the college-age population in this country.”

The Alliance is urging Congress to: double the amount of Pell Grant funding within the next six years, increase opportunities for HSIs and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) to participate in federal TRIO student support programs, and create a new grant program for the creation of MSI teacher education centers of excellence.

The Alliance, as the nation’s first unified voice for all minority higher education concerns, also is calling on Congress to add loan-forgiveness features to the Stafford Student Loan Program to promote grater student participation in fields where national needs are greatest such as science, mathematics, minority health, teaching, engineering and information technology.

The Alliance is calling for substantial increases in graduate program funding and federal funding under Title III and Title V of the Higher Education Act (HEA) for infrastructure and other needs of MSIs serving the “nation’s neediest populations.” Title V remains the chief vehicle for targeting federal funds to historically under-funded HSIs, which serve half of all Hispanic higher education students.

“Most MSIs were established to provide postsecondary education opportunities for students who traditionally have been denied access to adequately financed K-12 schools, especially low-income, educationally disadvantaged students that are the major focus of the HEA,” leaders of the Alliance wrote in a letter to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

“In these times of increasing concern about homeland security, global competitiveness and national economic growth, we believe that investment in the programs and policies of the HEA is the best way to achieve the goals of prosperity, security and harmony for all Americans,” said the letter signed by HACU President Antonio R. Flores, AIHEC Executive Director Gerald E. Gipp and NAFEO President Frederick S. Humphries.

The Alliance, as the first united voice for minority higher education concerns nationwide, issued its set of recommendations in addition to individual recommendations for HEA enhancements being proposed separately by Alliance partners.

HACU, which represents more than 340 colleges and universities serving the largest concentrations of Hispanic higher education students in the United States, will present its detailed list of Hispanic higher education requests for HEA reauthorization during HACU’s 2003 National Capitol Forum on Hispanic Higher Education March 30-April 1 in Washington, D.C.

“HACU’s goal is to comprehensively address the challenge of substantially increasing the knowledge and skills of a population that suffers disproportionately low high school and college completion rates,” Flores said. “Reauthorization of the HEA presents a powerful opportunity for the nation to address the higher education needs of Hispanics, its youngest and largest ethnic population.”

For more information, contact HACU national headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, at (210) 692-3805. Ext. 3214. Or visit www.hacu.net.

For a copy of the Alliance HEA Reauthorization Position Paper, click here.