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HACU MEMBER ADVISORY--October 22, 2004

HACU scores major victory with change
in 50-percent rule for HSIs now signed into law

The new U.S. Department of Defense bill signed into law by President Bush this week contains an amendment won by HACU that will make it easier for Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) to compete for U.S. Department of Education funds earmarked for HSIs under Title V of the Higher Education Act.

This important change will assist those HSIs applying in the upcoming Title V grants cycle in 2005. Please notify all Title V program directors and other grant officers of this critical change in eligibility requirements.

HSIs, defined as having a student enrollment that is at least 25 percent Hispanic, must also provide assurance that at least 50 percent of their Hispanic student enrollment is low-income. However, previous interpretations of the 50-percent low-income assurance requirements demanded documentation not normally collected by HSIs and costly and time-consuming to collect – essentially acting to bar HSIs from Title V funding.

The new amendment included within the final language of the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 will now allow HSIs to extrapolate the needed information from data already available from the U.S. Census Bureau and other federal and state reporting sources.

The amendment reads as follows:

SEC. 1087. REVISION TO REQUIREMENTS FOR RECOGNITION OF INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION AS HISPANIC-SERVING INSTITUTIONS FOR PURPOSES OF CERTAIN GRANTS AND CONTRACTS.

Section 502(a) (5) (C) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1101a(a)(5)(C)) is amended by inserting before the period the following: `, which assurances--

`(i) may employ statistical extrapolation using appropriate data from the Bureau of the Census or other appropriate Federal or State sources; and

`(ii) the Secretary shall consider as meeting the requirements of this subparagraph, unless the Secretary determines, based on a preponderance of the evidence, that the assurances do not meet the requirements'.

The proposed amendment had won unanimous support in the Senate under the leadership of Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, with the critical bipartisan support of Senators Pete Domenici of New Mexico, John Cornyn of Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, John Warner of Virginia and Carl Levin of Michigan. Please join HACU in thanking our friends in Congress for approving this important new change in Title V eligibility requirements.

Please note that HACU is seeking to remove the 50-percent low-income assurance requirement entirely in its efforts to enhance the reach and results of Title V, which remains the chief vehicle for targeting federal funds to HSIs.

In addition to the removal of the 50-percent low-income assurance requirement, HACU is seeking substantial increases in Title V funding levels, as part of the pending five-year reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which will be on the agenda of the new 109th Congress. HACU is also advocating for the elimination of the two-year wait-out now required of HSIs between applications for five-year Title V grants. Several bills were introduced in the House and Senate this year but final action will await the reauthorization process in the 109th Congress.

Please make plans now to attend HACU’s 2005 Capitol Forum on Hispanic Higher Education in Washington, D.C., April 2-5, 2005, where Title V funding and program requirements will be a major topic. Please also invite Title V program directors and key grant officers to this Capitol Forum well timed to impact the pending five-year reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Early registration discounts and other information will soon be available at www.hacu.net.

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