April 30, 2012
HACU praises USDA for finalizing Hispanic-Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities rules
After more than a decade of advocacy efforts by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and its allies to get congressional authority to establish a set of Hispanic-Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACUs), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has now issued rules that establish the process and procedures to certify a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) as a HSACU institution.
Qualifying HSIs – accredited not-for-profit colleges and universities where Hispanic enrollment constitutes a minimum of 25% of full-time equivalent students – must offer associate’s, bachelor’s, or other accredited degree programs in agriculture-related fields and award at least 15% of those degrees to Hispanics. These new agriculture institutions are comparable to the Land Grant Colleges established by the Morrill Act in 1862, expanded by the Second Morrill Act of 1890 to create a number of HBCU land grants and again in 1994 to include new Tribal Colleges and Universities.
A total of 71 HSIs will be designated as HSACUs. Of those institutions, 32 are two-year institutions and 39 are four-year institutions – located in the North Central, Northeastern, Southern, and Western regions of the United States.
Click here for a list of the institutions granted HSACU certification and eligible for HSACU programs for the period starting October 1, 2011 and ending September 30, 2012.
Since the establishment of agriculture colleges and university by Congress, the U.S. has led the world in research that has helped improve food abundance and quality and eradicate high levels of poverty and starvation in many parts of the globe. Other benefits from agricultural colleges and universities are the identification, treatment and cure of fatal diseases, improvements to public health and nutrition, and technologies to protect the environment and to create new energy and food sources.
HSACUs can collaborate with other agriculture-related institutions in ongoing efforts to improve the quality and quantity of food. With greater involvement of HSACUs in training new agriculture and food safety professionals, the nation will continue as a world leader in scientific and technological advancements in food production and food security and safety.