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May 14, 2007

CA Governor’s May Revise Still Does Not Meet HACU’s Expectations

SACRAMENTO, CA – While pleased overall with Governor Schwarzenegger’s investments in higher education in the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2007-08 in California, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) still expresses disappointment with the lack of funding in specific areas of the budget May revise.

On the positive side, HACU applauds the Governor’s continued commitment to the Community College System, including Career Technical Education (CTE) funding, as well as enhanced funding for nursing programs.  HACU also looks forward to another year of fully funded equalization for the community college system.  In addition, HACU is pleased that the Governor lived up to the compacts signed with the University of California and California State University systems, including an additional $3.6 million for the CSU to increase nursing enrollments.

Unfortunately, according to HACU officials, Governor Schwarzenegger’s May revise budget was released still containing the cuts in funding to Student Academic Preparation and Education Programs, as were initially proposed in January.  The Governor removed $7 million from the California State University System and $19.3 million from the University of California in academic preparation funds.  “These programs are essential to the academic success of historically disadvantaged students, including Latino students,” said Dr. Antonio Flores, HACU President and CEO.   “We also hope that the higher education segments will receive the funding they need to cover pay increases for faculty and staff, as they are needed to retain the best talent to educate our youth.”

Flores indicated that the association also expects that the Governor will fully fund the California Community Colleges for their Basic Skills funding needs, so that students who need remedial assistance may be brought up to speed. “Finally, we hope that the Governor’s proposal to sell EdFund will, as the Governor stated, build reserves and not result in a loss of funding for financial aid awareness programs, or in any way negatively impact low-income and historically disadvantaged students,” Flores added.

“It is of essence that the State invest in its youth today, which will lead to a better tomorrow with an educated population. As the deadline to pass a balanced budget approaches, we hope the Governor and the Legislature will make students’ educational success a priority in the 2007-08 budget. We strongly urge the Legislature to fully fund the academic preparation programs at the CSU and UC systems, and to fully fund the needs of the higher education segments as a whole,” said Flores,.

HACU represents more than 450 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, Portugal and Spain. Currently, HACU has 96 members in the state of California and in September of 2005 opened a regional office in Sacramento to handle Hispanic higher education legislative and policy issues in the western region of the U.S.  Although its member institutions in the U. S. represent less than 10% of all higher education institutions nationwide, together they are home to more than two-thirds of all Hispanic college students. HACU is the only national educational association that represents Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).