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January 24, 2014

NJ Revilla-Garcia

HACU urges for education and HSIs to be a policy priority in State of the Union 

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and University, a coalition member of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), was among the organizations that endorsed a letter sent today urging President Barack Obama to include seven key priorities in his State of the Union address  on January 28.

The letter laid out policy priorities in the areas of immigration, economy and the budget, education, health, Latino inclusion in the federal government, voting rights, and support for Latino veterans.

An excerpt of the education portion of the letter that calls for support of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) is as follows: 

Education

Latinos are strongly united in recognizing the critical role education plays in accessing the American Dream. Indeed, investments in education can lead to a more skilled workforce that is better able to compete in the global marketplace. It is important to support early childhood education and programs that ensure Latino students are prepared for higher education if they so choose. Keeping in mind that the primary obstacles keeping Latino students from higher education are often financial, more must be done to lower the costs of higher education and make the pipeline for achievement more accessible.

Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) are the backbone of higher education and training for Latinos and other underserved populations. As such, they need to be better supported by all levels of government. As crucial as they are for the education of the overwhelming majority of the nearly 3 million Hispanic college students and over 4 million students from all walks of life, HSIs receive a mere 68 cents for every federal dollar going to all other institutions per student annually. This gap in federal support must be closed and necessary funding must be provided so that HSIs may offer more and better educational opportunities -- particularly in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. The workforce and economic needs of the nation demand equitable federal support for HSIs.

HSIs and Hispanic Americans are a natural bridge for American international education and policy initiatives, particularly with the Western Hemisphere. As a key part of America’s history and future, they also have a keen understanding of (and cultural affinity with) other countries where we need to strengthen our presence in international education, cultural exchanges, and commerce. The more than 55 million Hispanic Americans and HSIs are an invaluable resource that our nation should optimize internationally.

   Read Press Statement and full letter here.

The public is encouraged to visit the online action page to share with the NHLA key points they would like  the president to address. To submit feedback, click here

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The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) represents approximately 450 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America and Spain. HACU is the only national educational association that represents Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). For more information, please visit www.hacu.net.

Established in 1991, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) brings together Hispanic leaders to establish policy priorities that address, and raise public awareness of, the major issues affecting the Latino community and the nation as a whole. Earlier this year, NHLA launched the Latinos United for a Fair Economy campaign. For more information, please visit www.nationalhispanicleadership.org.