Updated December 11, 2020
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities has sent a letter directed to the leadership of the U.S. Congress urging them to support equitable funding in emergency relief funds for Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) under the COVID relief package being debated in response to the ongoing pandemic.
Historically, HSIs have been severely underfunded, including the allocation of CARES Act funds among Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). The letter requests to set aside no less than 10% of the total funds for higher education to support HSIs, as defined under Title V of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA).
All of our institutions, including our sister HBCUs, TCUs, and AANAPISIs play a critical role in the education of our underserved students. However, HSIs account for 94.5% of all those enrolled at the four cohorts but received only 24.9% of the CARES MSIs set-aside, even though they educate more than double the number of African Americans at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), nearly twice the number of Native Americans at Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and the largest concentration of Asian Americans in college.
Still, HSIs remain the most under-resourced and federally underfunded cohort of institutions educating the largest number of students from all minority populations in the nation and the largest proportion of low-income students. The Center for American Progress recently highlighted the scarce federal funding among HSIs and the urgent need to dramatically increase this funding in order to meet workforce demands, college completion rates, and ensure a strong recovery from the pandemic. HSIs are also the fastest-growing collective of colleges and universities serving the most impacted populations by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter includes data showing the underfunding of HSIs and points out the following: “Because the ultimate charge of colleges and universities is to enable students to achieve their dream of earning a college degree as the passport to a better life and fulfilling citizenship, we request that the above data be taken into consideration to allocate funds equitably across cohorts, without harming any of them, compared to CARES Act allocations. This may require a greater set aside than initially considered, so that HSIs may be fairly funded in accordance with the facts.”
With HSIs presented with the realities of a digital divide and ensuring a safe and healthy environment for faculty, staff, and students, equitable funding is vital to the sustainability of our institutions to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For a copy of the letter click here. Note: Some data has been updated. This letter replaces the letter dated December 10, 2020, on the same subject. Please discard the previous version.
HACU urges presidents and other supporters of HSIs to contact your Representative and Senator to urge them to support equitable federal funding support for Hispanic-Serving Institutions under the COVID Relief Package. Click here to contact your representative.