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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 8, 2007

Congressman Hinojosa tours HACU headquarters, commends internship program

SAN ANTONIO, TX – Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, during a visit to San Antonio on Tuesday, met with senior leadership and toured the headquarters of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), which represents more than 400 colleges and universities that collectively serve two-thirds of all Hispanic higher education students in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

“I came to hear about your goals for the next two-to-five years,” Hinojosa said at the first of his series of meetings in the Alamo City.  After a one-hour briefing and question-and-answer session, with HACU’s senior and government relations staff in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento, California, participating by Web cam and telephone, the six-term representative of the 15th District of Texas said, “I now know more about HACU than I have learned in the last 11 years in Congress.”

Hinojosa, chairman of the Education Task Force for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, was instrumental in establishing a separate title of the Higher Education Act in 1998 dedicated to the development of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), not-for-profit colleges and universities whose enrollment is at least 25 percent Hispanic.  Since that time, funding for HSIs has grown from $12 million to nearly $95 million.
 
Antonio R. Flores, president and CEO of the association, praised “Mr. Hinojosa’s exemplary championing of legislation aimed at strengthening HSIs.”  He also presented the South Texas Congressman with a number of reports, including an independent analysis released July 26 showing that the HACU National Internship Program (HNIP) is an extremely effective tool for the recruitment of Hispanics into the federal workforce.  Currently, Hispanics represent 7.5 percent of the federal workforce -- 5.1 percentage points below the current civilian labor employment level -- and are the only under-represented ethnic group in the federal government.

“We are pleased to share this HNIP report with a Member of Congress who has done so much to advance the cause of Hispanic higher education,” Flores said.  Hinojosa, whose district is home to several of the program’s more than 6,500 interns, commended the association for its work with young people, saying, “What a wonderful experience you’re giving them.”

During the current legislative session, Representative Hinojosa has been the chief architect for House Resolution (HR) 451, the Next Generation HSI Act, that would create a post-baccalaureate grant program for qualified HSIs.  He also introduced HR 2928, which would provide grants to states to improve high schools and raise graduation rates for Hispanic and other students attending these institutions.  The congressman, who chairs the House Subcommittee for Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness, has been a leading advocate of HR 2669, the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, that would include $500 million of mandatory funding for Minority-Serving Institutions ($200 million of which would benefit HSIs) to train professionals in science, technology, engineering and math areas and establish Centers of Excellence for Minority-Serving Institutions to train highly qualified teachers. 

(For more information about HACU, visit http://www.hacu.net/.  For a copy of the executive summary of the HNIP report, click here.)

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