FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2008
HACU media contact:
Norma Jean Revilla-García
HACU commends Congress on second round of increased funding for Hispanic-Serving Institutions this year
San Antonio, TX- “The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act represents another great leap forward for Hispanic-Serving Institutions and the students they serve,” said Antonio R. Flores, President and CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). “Not only does the legislation significantly increase federal funding for HSIs, as did the passage of the Farm Bill earlier this year, but for the first time Congress is authorizing $100 million for graduate programs at these institutions, something that HACU has been an advocate of for some time.”
The legislation, which awaits President Bush’s signature, was passed on July 31 with bipartisan support in both houses of Congress by votes of 380-49 in the House and 83-8 in the Senate. The Higher Education Act (HEA) remains the major source for federal investment in the nation’s system of public colleges and universities. The act’s reauthorization contains provisions which, in addition to the new graduate component, will help Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) expand their course offerings and provide HSIs greater access to the Minority Foreign Service Professional Development Program, The Study Abroad Program, Internships, and participation in the Institute for International Public Policy.
Defined by the Higher Education Act as degree-granting institutions with full-time equivalent undergraduate enrollments that are at least 25% Hispanic, HSIs numbered 268 institutions in 2006, according to federal enrollment data. Together, these institutions enrolled 1,006,723 Hispanic students, or 51% of all Hispanics in postsecondary (non-profit) schools. The number of HSIs has been rapidly growing, from 137 institutions in 1990 to 230 in 2000, and 268 in 2006.
Hispanic-Serving Institutions were prominently acknowledged in the 2008 Farm Bill (HR 2419), where Congress created five new programs that will enhance the ability of 86 HSIs to conduct research and offer courses and programs in the fields of agriculture, food and environmental science and bio energy, as well as in forestry workforce development. The Farm Bill created a new category of Hispanic-Serving Colleges and Universities with access to the many programs within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including opportunities for international collaboration with colleges and universities in developing nations.
“We are encouraging all our 400-plus member colleges and universities throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, including HSIs, to thank their members of Congress who supported the legislation,” said Jose Jaime Rivera, President of University of the Sacred Heart in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Chair of the HACU Governing Board. “The nation’s Hispanic community greatly appreciates the decision of Congress to make major investments in a system of education that serves the fastest-growing ethnic group in that country, now totaling more than 45 million.”
Sylvia Zapico, Chair of the HACU Government Relations committee, added that “the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Conference and the HSI Senate Coalition should be commended for their roles in securing inclusion of these important provisions into both bills.”
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