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  HACU meets with U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Roderick Paige to discuss issues that affect Hispanic students

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Antonio R. Flores, President and CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), met with Dr. Roderick Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education on Monday, June 9, 2003, to discuss several issues that affect Hispanic students and Hispanics across the nation.

One of the topics of the discussion was HACU’s request earlier this year to President Bush asking him to sign an Executive Order to establish the “President’s Board of Advisors on Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).” Establishing the Board of Advisors for HSIs would create a comparable presidential Board of Advisors as currently exists for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and for the Tribal Colleges and Universities (TBCUs). “With Hispanics the largest and fastest growing minority group in the United States, it is appropriate that a Board of Advisors be created to provide an equitable representation among higher education learning institutions,” Flores said.

Also discussed was house bill HR2238 that was introduced by Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, Chair, Education Task Force, Congressional Hispanic Caucus. HR2238 will strengthen the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) program by establishing a competitive grant program to expand post-baccalaureate degree opportunities at HSIs. It also reduces the regulatory burden for institutions participating in the HSI undergraduate program by eliminating the two-year wait-out period between HSI grant awards and eliminating the requirement that HSIs document that 50 percent of their Hispanic enrollment is from low-income individuals.

Currently, under Title V to qualify as an HSI, an institution must meet all the criteria for a Title III Part A grant plus the additional requirements that 25 percent of its full time student population be Hispanic and that 50 percent of the Hispanic population be low-income. “This additional regulatory burden is not required of other Minority-Serving Institutions, and should be eliminated,” according to Flores

Also in attendance at the meeting with the Secretary of Education were Sally L. Stroup, Assistant Secretary, Office of Postsecondary Education; and Maria Hernandez-Ferrier, Director of the Office of English Language Acquisition.

For more information, contact HACU national headquarters in San Antonio, Texas at (210) 692-3805, Ext. 3249