July 18, 2019

HACU statement in support of the Hispanic Educational Resources and Empowerment (HERE) Act of 2019

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities has issued the following statement in support of the Hispanic Educational Resources and Empowerment (HERE) Act of 2019:

Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) introduced the HERE Act of 2019, which is co-sponsored by over 35 members of Congress and has bipartisan support. The HERE Act creates a new grant program at the U.S. Department of Education to support partnerships and collaboration between Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and school districts that educate the majority of Hispanic students.

Historically, PK-12 and higher education have been separate systems, with different principles of organization, sources of funding, governing bodies and laws. Students and their families have had the major responsibility of making the transition on their own from one system to the other.

“HACU strongly supports the HERE Act and its focus on addressing the lingering opportunity and achievement gaps among Hispanic students, and the debilitating dynamic created by PK-12 and higher education not working together,” said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores.

At a time when Hispanics are entering college in record numbers, this legislation would ensure that Hispanic students are prepared and ready for college, enhancing Hispanic students’ potential for educational attainment. Hispanics currently comprise 18.2% of the U.S. population and by 2060, it’s expected to rise to 28.6%. Since the majority of the Hispanic population is younger than 35, it is imperative that we start addressing the large achievement gap that Hispanics face in college admission and graduation rates.

The HERE Act proposes a new grant program, authorized at $150 million, under Title V of the Higher Education Act. The program would provide support for several activities between HSIs and what the bill defines as Hispanic-Serving School Districts. Some of the supported activities include the following:

  • Providing academic support to prepare students for postsecondary education, prevent the need for postsecondary remediation, and provide high quality postsecondary remediation when needed;
  • Supporting eligible students through the college application and transition process;
  • Addressing non-academic needs that serve as barriers to college enrollment, persistence, and completion.

“We sincerely thank Congressman Castro for his leadership and commitment to Hispanic student success with the introduction of the HERE Act. HACU and its membership look forward to working with the Congressman to ensure passage of the bill and its enactment into law,” said Flores.

Full details about the bill, including the bill text, can be found online at HACU’s Advocacy Center by visiting https://hacuadvocates.net/HEREAct.

The original co-sponsors of the bill include:

Salud Carbajal (CA-24)
Tony Cardenas (CA-29)
Gilbert R. Cisneros (CA-39)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44)
Eliot Engel (NY-16)
Adriano Espaillat (NY-13)
Ruben Gallego (AZ-7)
Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (IL-4)
Sylvia Garcia (TX-29)
Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15)
Jenniffer González-Colón (PR)
Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-3)
Deb Haaland (NM-1)
Katie Hill (CA-25) 
Will Hurd (TX-23)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-2)
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
Barbara Lee (CA-13)
Ben Ray Lujan (NM-3)
Grace Meng (NY-6)
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26)
Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14)
Jimmy Panetta (CA-20)
Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10)
Katie Porter (CA-45)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40)
Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38)
Adam B. Schiff (CA-28)
José E. Serrano (NY-15)
Albio Sires (NJ-8)
Darren Soto (FL-9)
Juan Vargas (CA-51)
Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-7)
Frederica Wilson (FL-24)

Download a PDF of questions and answers on the HERE Act 2019, here.

Contact your representative and encourage them to co-sponsor the HERE Act of 2019 to ensure passage of this important bill. Click here to complete the call-to-action.

About HACU
HACU, founded in 1986, represents more than 500 colleges and universities in the United States, Latin America, Spain and school districts throughout the U.S. The mission of HACU is to Champion Hispanic Success in Higher Education. HACU is the only national association representing existing and emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). The Association’s headquarters are located in San Antonio, Texas, with regional offices in Washington D.C., and Sacramento, California. Information is available at www.hacu.net.