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  KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) today presented a compelling case for the higher education needs of the nation’s youngest and largest ethnic population at a U.S. Department of Education hearing on reauthorization of the federal Higher Education Act.

“Currently, one of every three new workers joining the U.S. labor force is Hispanic. By 2025, that proportion will be one of every two. Clearly, America’s economic vitality depends on an educated Hispanic work force,” HACU Vice President and Chief Operating Officer John Moder testified today in Kansas City, Missouri, at a public hearing of the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education.

Moder, a veteran educator and former president of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, testified on behalf of HACU, the nation’s leading voice for Hispanic higher education, about the need to immediately address a continued lack of federal funding for those colleges and universities serving the largest U.S. Hispanic population centers.

HACU represents more than 340 colleges and universities in 23 states and Puerto Rico serving the largest concentrations of Hispanic higher education students. These higher education institutions also are actively involved in outreach to a population that suffers the lowest high school and college graduation rates of any major population group.

Federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institutions, which have a student enrollment that is at least 25 percent Hispanic, are “dramatically under-funded,” Moder said, pointing out that Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) on average receive only about half the amount of federal funding provided per student for all other degree-granting institutions. Correcting this funding inequity should be of paramount importance to Congress, which is expected to begin debating reauthorization of the Higher Education Act this year, Moder said.

Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) will determine federal funding priorities for all higher education institutions for the next five years. HACU is requesting substantial increases in federal funding for student financial aid, graduate programs, teacher education, international education, pre-collegiate support, technology support and general infrastructure appropriations specifically earmarked for HSIs.

“The nation has a tremendous stake in ensuring that adequate federal support is provided to equip such a large part of our national labor and leadership ranks with the advanced knowledge and skills essential for our country’s economic success and security,” Moder said.

For more information, contact HACU at (210) 692-3805. Ext. 3214. Or visit www.hacu.net.