FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
California Governor’s Budget Harmful to Latinos and the Colleges that Serve Them;
Budget cuts to impact student access and success
Sacramento, CA- While conscious of the difficult financial situation facing California, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) expressed extreme disappointment at the Governor’s proposed cuts to the higher education budget. Of particular concern to HACU are the mid-year budget cuts and the elimination of new competitive Cal Grants for financially needy students for next year.
The Governor’s proposed budget balancing reductions include significant cuts to the California Community Colleges, the California State University System and the University of California. These cuts will be particularly difficult for California’s colleges and universities, since classes have already begun for the spring semester. The Governor suggests that these reductions can be achieved by limiting student enrollment and reducing programs in student services, academic support, and public services. But these programs, which are vital to student success, have already suffered from earlier budget cuts from which they have yet to recover. Additional reductions will further handicap colleges’ abilities to provide the support needed by many students, including many Latino students, to enjoy academic success.
In addition to cuts to vital student services at California’s public 2- and 4-year institutions, the Governor has proposed eliminating all new competitive Cal Grants during the 2008-09 budget year. Just as the UC and CSU have been forced to raise fees to cover funding the state will no longer be providing, the Governor proposes eliminating a vital source of financial aid for California’s neediest students. Each year 22,500 students are awarded competitive Cal Grants to attend one of our colleges; without this source of funding, thousands of students will be unable to afford their dream of a college education.
“The best way to recover from a difficult financial year is to ensure that California has a well-educated, tax-paying workforce. Forcing California’s two- and four-year institutions to make difficult financial cuts, reducing access to these institutions, and eliminating vital financial aid programs is not the way to achieve that goal. Despite these financially difficult times, California should remain committed to ensuring that all students have access to a quality and affordable education. We look forward to working with the Legislature and the Governor towards achieving that goal,” said Antonio Flores, President and CEO of HACU.
HACU represents more than 450 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America 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).
Erica Romero, Executive Director, HACU Western Regional Office
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