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  WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) is urging support for a new bill that would make it easier to compete for Hispanic higher education grants nationwide.

Title V of the Higher Education Act is the chief vehicle for appropriating multi-million dollar federal grants to Hispanic-Serving Institutions, or HSIs, which serve the largest concentrations of Hispanic higher education students in the United States.

U.S. Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico this week introduced a bill, S. 1081, that would amend the Higher Education Act to remove a two-year wait-out period now required before HSIs that have won Title V grants can compete for new Title V grants.

“This simple bill will be of enormous benefit to those colleges and universities serving the nation’s youngest and largest ethnic population, and to every American who will benefit from opening new doors to college and career success for such a large part of our future workforce and taxpayer base,” said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores.

S.1081 would allow HSIs the opportunity to compete for continued Title V grant funding, instead of being forced to stop mid-stream for two-year wait-out periods between grant applications.

HSIs are at the forefront of every major effort to serve a population that makes up one of every three new workers joining the U.S. work force today, but which also suffers the lowest high school and college graduation rates of any major population group.

“This legislation will allow HSIs the means to sustain long-range efforts crucial to successfully addressing these complex challenges,” Flores said. “HACU applauds the leadership of Senator Domenici for introducing this important legislation for our Hispanic higher education community.”

As the nation’s leading voice for Hispanic higher education, HACU represents more than 300 colleges and universities collectively serving more than two-thirds of the nation’s 1.6 million Hispanic higher education students. HSIs, by federal definition, serve a student enrollment that is at least 25 percent Hispanic.

For more information, contact HACU national headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, at (210) 692-3805. Ext. 3214. For a list and locations of the nation’s HSIs, visit www.hacu.net.