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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) applauds the recent reintroduction of the Student Adjustment Act to the 108th Congress. HACU called for swift passage of the bipartisan bill that would permit states the flexibility to offer in-state tuition rates to students raised in the United States, regardless of their immigration status, and allow such students to regularize their status.

“This bill (H.R. 1684) will open new doors to opportunity for tens of thousands of talented students to achieve the dream of higher education success,” said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores.

“Too often, these doors are closed merely because of the sheer backlog of immigration cases that can translate into years of waiting for formal residency or citizenship status,” Flores said. “The Student Adjustment Act would allow these students the opportunity to acquire the advanced knowledge and skills critical to their success and to the vitality of the U.S. economy.”

Flores praised the leadership of U.S. Representatives Howard Berman of California, Chris Cannon of Utah and Lucille Roybal-Allard of California for reintroducing the Student Adjustment Act in the U.S. House of Representatives as a companion bill to the proposed Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act in the U.S. Senate.

In an era of rapidly rising college costs, an estimated 50,000 to 65,000 high school students, who have otherwise met the same rigorous academic requirements as their peers, now lack access to financial aid programs provided to other students, according to a coalition of the bill’s supporters represented by HACU, the National Immigration Forum, the National Council of La Raza, the National Immigration Law Center, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and other organizations.

HACU represents 340 member colleges and universities that collectively serve more than two-thirds of all Hispanic higher education students. These higher education institutions also are at the forefront of every major pre-collegiate outreach initiative reaching Hispanic students from kindergarten through high school in 25 states and Puerto Rico.

“Certainly, swift passage of this legislation is of tremendous importance to the membership of HACU. Immigration has fueled the rapid growth of the nation’s largest and youngest ethnic population. Hispanics also represent the fastest-growing school-age population, as well as one of every three new workers joining the U.S. labor force. Surely, we will all benefit by allowing every student to excel,” Flores said.

For more information, contact HACU national headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, at (210) 692-3805. Ext. 3214. Or visit www.hacu.net.