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MEMBER ADVISORY--September 16, 2005

 

HACU closer to reauthorization goals of the Higher Education Act

 

On September 8, 2005, the U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee unanimously approved legislation which favored much of HACU’s Legislative Agenda for Title V of the Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization:

 

  • The “low-income assurance” requirement has been eliminated.
  • The “wait-out period” has also been removed.
  • A new section was added to create a separate grant program to promote post-baccalaureate opportunities for Hispanic Americans.
  • Graduate education has also been included in the cooperative grants section.

 

The funding authorization level for both undergraduate and graduate programs is set at “such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2006 and each of the 5 succeeding fiscal years.”

 

This is a major step in HACU’s fight for greater funding for Title V.  “The bipartisan approval of this bill is a testament to the Senate’s commitment to ensuring that the next five years of the Higher Education Act provide adequate funding for students pursing their academic goals,” said Antonio Flores, President and CEO of HACU.

 

The HELP Committee also approved legislation that will offer $73 billion in financial aid for higher education, including $5.5 billion in new temporary mandatory funding over 5 years.  The Higher Education Amendments Act of 2005 (S 1614) will reauthorize the 1998 Higher Education Act.

 

Senators said the new program would provide $4.5 billion over the next five years in need-based grants to low-income students to supplement Pell grant awards.  Another $1 billion in scholarships would be provided for low-income students who major in math and science fields, delivered as a $1,500 annual grant to juniors and seniors.

 

The committee discussed the issue of proprietary institutions.  Though the Senate did not exclude them from participating in federal aid programs, S 1641 does not include proprietary institutions in a single definition of “institutions of higher education,” which would make them eligible for millions of dollars in federal aid.

 

The next steps will require the full Senate to consider the bill, after which it will be referred to a Conference Committee to be reconciled with the House version.

 

HELP Chairman Michael B. Enzi, R-WY, worked with Edward M. Kennedy, D-MA, to write the bill.

 

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