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May 14, 2008
HACU Contact: Erica Romero
Executive Director
Western Regional Office
(916) 442-0392

Governor’s May revision to Budget better for Latinos in higher education, but still needs work

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) today expressed its gratitude to the Governor of California for his decision to increase funding over his proposed January budget for higher education.  HACU noted, however, that even with these increases over January funding, the higher education segments in California face significant cuts over the previous year, cuts that will limit access and success in higher education.

HACU applauded the Governor’s continued commitment to the Community College System.   Antonio Flores, President and CEO of HACU, said, “We are pleased the Governor has restored $69 million to backfill the deficit caused this year when property tax revenues came in substantially lower than originally estimated.  Last minute cuts to the community colleges would have been detrimental to student access and to the ability of students to get into classes they need to graduate or transfer.”

Governor Schwarzenegger’s May revisions fail to meet the Compact he signed with the University of California and the California State University systems, with the UC facing a total reduction of $233.4M, and the CSU $215.3M.  While these cuts also mean real reductions in access to and success in higher education for historically under-represented students, HACU noted with approval the additional monies the Governor had found for the 4-year segments.

In his January budget, the Governor had proposed eliminating all new competitive Cal Grants during the 2008-09 budget year, and he has not restored this funding during his May revision.  Just as the UC and CSU are being forced to raise fees to cover funding no longer provided by the state, 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 a state college.  Without this source of funding thousands of students will be unable to afford their dream of a college education.

“We are grateful that the Governor has found additional monies for higher education in these particularly difficult financial times.  The best way to ensure a solid economic future for California is to create a well-educated tax-paying workforce. We look forward to working with the Governor, the Legislature and the higher education segments to minimize the impact on under-represented students and we hope a way can still be found to restore funding for the state’s neediest students,” said Flores.

HACU represents almost 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 since 2005 has had 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 Institution(HSIs).