Capitol Financing Program for HSIs

Higher Education Act (HEA)

HACU's Position

The Higher Education Act (HEA) is pivotal in shaping federal support for higher education through vital programs like Pell Grants and federal student loans. Crucially for HACU, the act recognizes Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and enhances their support through Title V and Title III, Part F, which are dedicated to advancing STEM education and academic articulation.

Access to higher education is critical for the success of the U.S. workforce, especially as the Hispanic population continues to grow. Despite rising high school completion rates, Hispanic students still have the lowest levels of educational attainment, underscoring the critical need for increased support and funding for HSIs. These institutions play a crucial role in educating a significant portion of Hispanic students, many of whom are first-generation college attendees from low-income backgrounds.

With Hispanic college enrollment expected to exceed 4.3 million by 2026 and HSIs grappling with severe underfunding and infrastructural deficits, there is an urgent need for a new financing program. This program will empower HSIs to upgrade their facilities and digital infrastructure to meet the needs of America's rapidly diversifying workforce.
A 2024 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows that HSIs have severe facility infrastructure needs, including backlogs of delayed building repairs. According to GAO’s report, 43 percent of HSIs’ building space needs repairs or replacement. HSIs, on average, have a deferred maintenance backlog of almost $100 million, and about 77% of HSIs have at least one deferred maintenance project that addresses a health or safety issue.
The report also shows that HSIs have unmet digital infrastructure needs related to internet access and connectivity, cybersecurity, and hybrid learning methods. For example, 90% of HSIs that offer hybrid courses face at least one technological or financial hardship to continue to deliver them. To address these digital and facility infrastructure needs, HSIs report common challenges in securing funding. These challenges include insufficient state funding and declining tuition and fee revenue to address capital project needs.


Call to Action: Establishing the HSI Capital Financing Program 
The 5.2 million students at HSIs are a microcosm of America’s diverse demography and represent the backbone of our emerging workforce. To meet the needs of a growing student body that is becoming increasingly diverse, a new program to support the capital financing needs of the 600 HSIs across the country is vital and necessary for these institutions to increase their capacity.

HACU advocates for the creation of a Capital Financing Program to provide zero- or low-interest federally guaranteed loans to HSIs. This program is designed to facilitate significant infrastructure improvements, bridge substantial funding gaps, and enhance HSIs' capacity to effectively serve a diverse student body. 

Mirroring the financing models of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), this program aims to support capital improvements and address urgent maintenance needs that have been exacerbated by recent challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic.


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