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January 8, 2007

HACU Announces 2007 Advocacy and Legislative Agenda

HACU announces a progressive and ambitious advocacy and legislative agenda for 2007 that should result in increased resources and support for HACU member institutions.

With the support and assistance of its membership, HACU will push for inclusion of 22 amendments into the Higher Education Act (HEA) when it is reintroduced in the 110th Congress.  These amendments address such issues as graduate education, teacher education, financial aid, immigration, and international education.

Concurrently, HACU will develop and advance a Farm Bill Policy Agenda for the reauthorization of the 2002 Farm Bill during the 110th Congress. The Farm Bill contains components that include resources for research, teaching and outreach in the areas of agriculture, food science, bio energy, environmental sciences and nutrition which HACU member institutions can utilize to provide greater career diversity for students, infrastructure funds for institutions and research dollars for faculty. HACU will utilize a focus group process for gathering information from HACU members on specific programs and initiatives of benefit to HSIs that will be recommended to Congress as amendments to the 2007 Farm Bill.

During the 110th Congress, elementary and secondary education will constitute a major focal point of the Administration and Congress as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), or No Child Left Behind (NCLB), is reauthorized.   HACU will be actively engaged in the process of reviewing the 2002 NCLB and recommending amendments to the NCLB by engaging HSIs and other HACU member institutions in the identification of program and initiatives for inclusion in the 2007 NCLB.

Since the 108th legislative session, HACU has advocated for the introduction and passage of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.  HACU will continue to push in the 110th Congress for the re-introduction of this important legislation to permit long-term residents who have completed secondary education to continue their education at the post secondary level and be eligible for permanent residence status with the awarding of a certificate, a 2 year or a 4 year degree from an accredited post secondary institution. Long-term resident students would also be eligible for Title IV financial aid.

Eliminating minority health disparities emerged as a major health legislative issue during the 109th Congress.  The Senate leadership developed a bill (S 4024) with research, teaching and outreach capabilities to address minority health disparities through prescriptive initiatives for eradicating illnesses and diseases peculiar to minority populations. HACU's advocacy agenda for 2007 will promote and advance legislative proposals for HSIs to assist in eradicating minority health disparities through research, teaching and outreach.

HACU has identified appropriations priorities for FY 2008 directed at enhancing the infrastructure capacity of HSIs and other HACU member institutions.

Title V of the HEA remains the chief vehicle for directing special federal funding for Hispanic-Serving Institutions to improve the institutional capacity and academic quality of education for colleges and universities that educate more than 50% of all Hispanics attending postsecondary education. For FY 2008 HACU is requesting $175 million for undergraduate programs and $20 million for a new graduate education program.  These two programs are intended to continue expanding and strengthening the capacity of undergraduate programs and new resources targeted to either expand or develop new graduate level education programs.

HACU is requesting continuing and new funding in several other key areas where HSIs can make a significant difference to the nation's economic status, workforce development and national security through research, education, teaching and outreach. 

These target areas include:

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) appropriation of $45 million:  $20 million for HSIs under Title VII of the Farm Bill and an additional $25 million under Title X for HSIs (and other entities) to assist socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appropriation of $17 million: $12 million for the HUD Hispanic-Serving Institutions Assisting Communities (HSIAC) program; and an additional $5 million to reinstate the HUD work-study program to aid two-year HSIs.

A U.S. Department of Defense appropriation for HSIs of $20 million: $15 million for research development, testing and evaluation infrastructure support for HSIs and $5 million for faculty development programs for HSIs.

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services line-item appropriation of $20 million for HSIs within the Health Professional Bureau/Division of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for faculty development, research and capacity building. 
A National Science Foundation appropriation of $30 million for HSIs in two key areas crucial to the science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM) capacity of the nation.  HACU requests $20 million for research, curriculum and infrastructure development for HSIs and $10 million to support a HACU/HSI consortium initiative between HSIs and Hispanic-Serving School Districts (HSSD) to elevate the academic competency of Hispanic high school graduates in the STEM areas for academic success in higher education.

A NASA appropriation of $10 million to support a HACU/HSI consortium to elevate the regional pre-collegiate Proyecto Access model initiative for science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM) to a nationwide program.

A U.S. Department of Energy appropriation of $23 million for a new Western Hemisphere Energy Cooperation program that includes HSIs as eligible partner institutions of higher education.

Throughout FY 2007, HACU will call upon its membership to support and advance a strong advocacy message with Congress and the Administration on the importance of introducing and approving legislation to increase education achievement and success of Hispanics and for funding appropriations requests to enhance the infrastructure capacity of HSIs in research, teaching, workforce development and outreach.

For more information, visit Government Relations at the HACU website at

HACU Member Advisories are a service of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities