April 15, 2021
Chris de Hoyos
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities hosted its 26th Annual National Capitol Forum on Hispanic Higher Education on April 13-14, 2021. This marked the second year HACU’s Capitol Forum has been held as a virtual event. The gathering drew more than 300 higher education and student advocates, a record attendance for this event. Approximately 180 individuals participated in over 100 congressional virtual meetings that spanned across 15 states, to help make the case for equitable funding support for Hispanic-Serving Institutions, as part of HACU’s Legislative Agenda.
Two free workshop sessions were held prior to the Capitol Forum. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities provided updates and helpful information about seeking grant funding and opportunities available for HSIs at their agencies.
HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores addressed the participants and spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic and the resilience of HSIs during his welcome remarks. He emphasized the importance of advocating for HSIs and highlighted the top four legislative priorities to ask Members of Congress to support – equitable funding for HSIs, the HERE Act, a capital financing bill, and immigration reform, including the Dream Act.
On the first day of the Forum, session topics included “Higher Education Priorities for the 117th Congress," Impact of COVID-19 on Hispanic-Serving Institutions and the Congressional Response,” and “Prepping for your Congressional Visit: HACU's Asks.”
U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar addressed participants after the panel session on “Human and Capital Infrastructure Challenges and Opportunities for K-12 and Higher Education: Federal Investments and Shortcomings.”
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona gave a special address at the end of the first day of the Forum. Secretary Cardona discussed the higher education priorities of the Department, including policies affecting HSIs.
On the second day of the Forum, a "Congressional Hispanic-Serving Institutions Policy Update " session was held prior to the congressional visits. A copy of HACU’s 2021 Legislative Agenda is available here.
HACU thanks the sponsors of the Capitol Forum, Educational Testing Service (ETS) and Southwest Airlines for their generous support. Special thanks to HACU partner the National Institutes of Health All of US Research Program and our media partners.
HACU’s 27th National Capitol Forum on Hispanic Higher Education is scheduled for April 5-6, 2022, at the Hilton Washington D.C. Capitol Hill.