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Member Advisory--February 9, 2005

 

Bush’s FY 2006 Budget Request

 

President Bush’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2006 proposes a 0.8% increase for Title V funding for Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), from $95.106 million to $95.873 million. In real terms, this is an actual reduction of funding and a far cry from the $175 million recommended by HACU for HSIs.  

 

Other HSI set-asides in the President’s Budget Request include the following:

 

·         The HSI/USDA program is proposed at $5,645,000 for FY 2006, the same amount as funded in FY 2005 and short of HACU’s request of $20 million.

 

·         The HUD HSIAC program is proposed at $5,979,000 for FY 2006, a decrease of $700,000 from the current Fiscal Year, and short of HACU’s request of $12 million for the HSIAC program and an additional $5 million for a work-study program.

 

It is expected that the bulk of increased funding in the President’s proposal will go to support the war in Iraq and his expressed aim of reducing by 50% the current federal deficit by 2009.   Total appropriations for the Education Department were down by 2.9% and various programs fared differently.

 

·         The President proposed covering the $4.3 billion shortfall in Pell funding by savings in student loan programs, including elimination of the 9.5% lender subsidy and providing for a variable interest rate for consolidation loans.  The maximum Pell award will increase $100 each year over five years to $4,550. 

 

·         In addition, the administration budget calls for a new $50 million Math and Science Scholar fund, providing additional grants of up to $5000 each to low-income, Pell-eligible students.

 

·         Student Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) and Federal Work Study (FWS) and graduate student loan programs through Javits and Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAAN) will see no increase in the President’s budget.

 

·         Perkins Loans are proposed for elimination, as are TRIO’s Upward Bound and Talent Search programs.  Some aspects of the Upward Bound and Talent Search programs, as well as of GEAR-UP, may survive under the President’s new High School Initiative ($1.2 billion),.

 

·         A new Community College Access Grant program, proposed at $125 million, will aim to increase enrollment for low-income students and encourage articulation with four-year institutions.  An additional $10 million is requested for a new loan program to support individuals enrolling in short-term training programs.

 

·         The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) was level-funded, as were other migrant education initiatives.

 

·         The Office of English Language Acquisition was level-funded, but some internal movement of funds will provide an increase from $582.2 million to $626.9 million available for state grants, a 44.7% increase.

 

With half of the new entrants to the American workforce expected to be Hispanic by 2025, addressing their higher education needs today is absolutely critical.

 

The concentration of Hispanic college students in HSIs makes it easy to have a direct impact on the quality and quantity of their education by providing adequate funding for this set of colleges and universities.  HSIs receive only about half the funding per student that the average higher education institution gets from federal sources and, while Title V has begun to make a difference, current funding levels remain woefully inadequate.

 

Equally distressing are the proposed cuts to TRIO programs which have proven crucial to increasing college aspiration and preparation for low-income and minority students.  The short-term fix to the under-funding of Pell only solves an immediate problem and leaves unaddressed the need for dramatically increased funding in this most important program.

 

HACU is committed to continuing its work with our allies in Congress, in both House and Senate, on both sides of the aisle, to develop a final appropriations bill more adequate to the needs of the rapidly growing U.S. Hispanic population.  Congress, of course, will have the (nearly) last word on the final FY 2006 budget.

 

HACU’s appropriations requests, in addition to $175 million for Title V and USDA and HUD requests noted above, include an additional $20 million for a new graduate education program under Title V, $20 million under Department of Defense ($15 M for HSI research capacity building and $5 M for faculty development), $20 million under DHHS (NIH), $20 million under NSF for HSI research and capacity-building, and $10 million under NASA to support a HACU/HSI science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiative.

 

A strong and vocal turn-out at HACU’s Capitol Forum, scheduled for April 3-5, 2005 at the Madison Hotel in Washington, DC, will be important in showing Congress how critical these issues are to the Hispanic-serving higher education community.  The visits to key legislators on the Hill on Tuesday, April 5, during the Forum will provide an opportunity to make your commitment directly known to your elected officials.  Don’t pass up this chance to join others in making a difference for your students!  See http://www.hacu.net/ for more details on the Forum.

 

HACU Member Advisories are a service of the

Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.