December 23, 2020
SAN ANTONIO, TX – The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) has released the following statement on H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. Congress passed the $2.3 trillion package, which includes $1.4 trillion to fund the government through the end of FY 2021 and $900 billion in COVID-19 relief. The bill still needs to be signed into law by the president of the United States; however, he has expressed reservations about some of its provisions.
Funding for Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) was not cut, but the nominal increases given to the 539 institutions that make up the largest cohort of Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), worsen the funding inequities that HSIs have historically endured. Below is a sampling of appropriations for HSIs in Fiscal Year 2021:
“HACU thanks Congress for their year-end funding action and is pleased that HSIs were included in the end of the year funding package,” said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores. “However, HSIs remain severely underfunded and only receive, on average, 68 cents for every federal dollar going to all other colleges and universities annually, per student, on average; yet they educate a disproportionately low-income and underserved student population. Furthermore, the FY 2021 funding increases closely reflect past patterns of funding increases and are woefully inadequate for the unprecedented challenges that HSIs are facing and will continue to face as they respond to their growing enrollments and evolving COVID-19 challenges.”
Historically, HSIs have been severely underfunded, including in the distribution of CARES Act funding among MSIs. HSIs account for 94.5% of all students enrolled at the four cohorts of MSIs but received only 24.9% of the funding set-aside for all MSIs and HBCUs.
“HACU will continue to work with Congress to try and close this funding gap and with the U.S. Department of Education to ensure the approved funding is distributed to HSIs as soon as possible,” added Flores.