Laws & Guidance HIGHER EDUCATION
Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965
Dr. John Moder, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
Archived Information



March 3, 2003

Jeffrey R. Andrade
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Policy, Planning, and Innovation
Office of Postsecondary Education
1990 K Street, NW, Room 8046
Washington, D.C. 20006

On behalf of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), champions for the higher education success of the nation's youngest and largest ethnic population, I am pleased to respond to the Department's request for recommendations regarding the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) during the 108th Congress presents a powerful opportunity for the nation to address the higher education needs of Hispanics. HACU's HEA recommendations are structured to address the challenge of increasing the knowledge and skills of a population that currently suffers disproportionately low high school and college completion rates. The end product of the current HEA reauthorization process will be critical to the future ability of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) to provide a quality and affordable higher education for Hispanics and other population groups that attend HSIs.

Hispanics are poised to fuel the surge in college-age population growth across the United States. This is a population that makes up a significant percentage of our workforce and will dramatically increase its share of the future labor force, taxpayer and leadership ranks. Currently, Hispanics make up one of every three new workers entering the workforce; by 2025, however, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that one of every two new workers will be Hispanic. Clearly, the nation's economic strength and security will be at risk unless Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) can be given the necessary support to educate the increasing Hispanic segment of the population with leadership and professional skills. Furthermore, these skills are critical to fill the void of the nation's professional workforce as the current professional work force enters into the largest retirement period in history.

As the only nationally recognized voice for HSIs, HACU is advocating that comprehensive new amendments and increased funding levels be incorporated into a reauthorized HEA to best serve the needs of those colleges and universities serving the largest concentrations of Hispanic higher education students.

Originally the HEA did not address the needs of HSIs until 1992, and Congress did not appropriate any funding specifically targeted for HSIs until fiscal year 1995. In 1998, Congress expanded the scope of HSIs under Title V in recognition of their growing national importance. However, HSIs continue to receive only a fraction of federal funds on average per student compared to all other degree-granting institutions.

Capacity building of HSIs remains the cornerstone of HACU's strategy to:

  • Expand access for Hispanics in higher education,

  • Ensure accountability in the use of resources and educational outcomes,

  • Promote educational excellence and success,

  • Assist low-income families and students to meet the increasing cost of college attendance,

  • Improve the delivery of student and institutional aid programs, and

  • Promote pre-collegiate preparation among Hispanics, the fastest-growing and largest ethnic population in the nation.

Although generally viewed as a primary function of Title V of the HEA, HSI-capacity building is a holistic process aided by enhancements to various titles of the HEA.

HACU's policy priorities were developed in part from the suggestions and recommendations that emerged through various forums, which proactively engaged the leadership of HSIs. In preparation of the policy priorities, substantial research has been conducted to augment the information already collected and this research has also been included in HACU's HEA policy document.

We are thankful for the opportunity to share our HEA recommendations that address Hispanic higher education and pre-collegiate needs.

TITLE II, TEACHER EDUCATION/TEACHER QUALITY

HSIs graduate more than half of all Hispanic teachers serving in K-12 education. These institutions represent a vital national resource for improving teacher education and for education outreach into minority communities. Under funding inhibits HSIs from effective recruitment, retention and graduation of sufficient Hispanic teachers to meet the needs of school districts at a time when the Hispanic school-age population is swelling. Professional diversity in K-12 education is essential to address the educational needs of the Hispanic population, who comprise approximately 25% of the student population but less than 5% of the K-12 teachers.

HACU recommends:

Language and authorized funding for HSIs under Title II to enhance and expand infrastructure and curriculum support, faculty development, collaboration and community outreach opportunities to HSIs for teacher education and teacher quality initiatives.

TITLE IV, FINANCIAL AID/SUPPORT/IMMIGRATION

Over the past 20 years, the proportion of annual college-attendance costs, including all related expenses, at a public 4-year institution supported by Pell grants has declined from 80 to 42 percent. This trend is especially detrimental to low-income families, particularly to Hispanics, who make up one-fourth of all U.S. citizens living in poverty. Doubling the current authorization maximum (currently $5,100) by the year 2010 would restore the lost purchasing power of the Pell Grant to cover nearly 75 percent of the average public four-year college cost of attendance, based on moderate tuition increased projections.

HACU recommends:

Substantial increases in the percentage of direct federal grant monies, versus loans, to college students to restore the Pell Grant to a level closer to the original 80/20 formula.

Restructuring the Stafford Loan Program with a major focus on decreasing the maximum interest from the current level to below 4 percent and establishing a loan forgiveness for areas of national need and areas in which there exists an under representation of Hispanics, such as engineering, mathematics, nursing and science.

Creation of a state challenge-grant program to match new federal aid dollars.

TRIO & GEAR UP Programs

TRIO and GEAR-UP programs provide disadvantaged pre-collegiate and college students with academic, career and post secondary preparation. A sizeable number of HSIs do not have in operation any TRIO programs. A legacy provision within TRIO funding creates a funding advantage over new institutions seeking funding.

HACU recommends:

TRIO and GEAR-UP monies be increased to support new programs.

HSIs and other minority-serving institutions currently without TRIO programs be eligible to utilize the legacy provision in grant competitions.

College Assistant Migrant Program

Hispanics are disproportionately represented as migrant and seasonal farm workers with high K-12 dropout and the lowest college attendance rates. Only 42 colleges and university operate CAMP programs. Increasing federal support by 50% ($10 million to $50 million) during the next 5 years will permit a larger number of eligible migrant young men and women to attend college.

A significant number of undocumented Hispanic immigrants who have achieved academic success are unable to attend college for financial reasons. Residency status would permit academically eligible undocumented youth to enroll in college, obtain degrees and become productive and tax-paying members of American society.

HACU recommends:

Increased support for CAMP programs to allow more Hispanic migrant youth to achieve a high school and college education.

Legislation addressing financial aid eligibility for undocumented immigrants.

TITLE V, INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT/GRADUATE EDUCATION/TECHNOLOGY

Title V of the Higher Education Act targets funding to HSIs to reduce severe under funding compared to other degree-granting institutions. These funds are primarily targeted for infrastructure enhancement, curriculum development and community outreach.

Current Title V funding legislation prevents HSIs holding grants from immediately competing for a second grant at the completion of the initial funding cycle. A two-year wait out period between Title V grants inhibits continued growth, development and successful outreach directed towards our targeted population.

U.S. Department of Education data demonstrates the number of HSIs will increase by at least 50 percent in the next three to five years as a result of rapid Hispanic population growth. Community colleges have also not been very successful in securing Title V grants. For Title V to effectively reach out to community colleges and to meet the needs of an increasing number of HSI institutions will require substantial funding increases during the 108th Congress and beyond.

HACU recommends:

Substantial increases to provide higher funding authorization levels to HSIs through Title V and the elimination of the two-year wait out period for HSIs between grant completion and new application cycles.

Streamlining the HSI definition and providing support for institutions that do not meet the current definition, but have large numbers of Hispanic students and are committed to partnering with HSIs for greater Hispanic higher education success.

Graduate education

Graduate education functions as the gateway to the professorate for the nation's postsecondary education system and the senior leadership in the public and private sectors of higher education and K-12 education. Few HSIs have the infrastructure or capacity to support and nurture graduate educational opportunities.

A federal HEA directive coupled with adequate resources would provide HSIs with the capacity and ability to enhance the expansion and quality of graduate programs for the growing number of Hispanics in college who wish to continue their advanced education at an HSI. Graduate programs in HSIs would contribute to the professional workforce needed for the continued role of the United States as the world leader in education, research, and economic development.

HACU recommends:

Support for creating and authorizing funds for a new part, graduate education, under Title V of the HEA.

Language forgiving the accumulated federal loan debt of graduates who choose to work (teaching, counseling, and other related areas) in HSIs.

Technology

Technology resources and institutional capacity undergird the ability of higher education institutions to provide a quality and future-focused education for undergraduate and graduate students. Many HSIs do not have the resources to equip their classrooms and laboratories with the most up-to-date technology to enhance their teaching, research, and learning capacity in scientific areas of greatest national need and strategic importance.

HACU recommends:

New legislative language and authorization levels for resources that HSIs need to expand their technology infrastructure, connectivity to the Internet, and applications for teaching and learning. This would include support for the development of science and technology parks at HSIs.

TITLE VI, INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION

Because of the inherently multicultural makeup of their student enrollment, HSIs are at the forefront of numerous initiatives and programs promoting international education. Yet, they remain exceedingly under-funded compared to other degree-granting institutions, hampering efforts to best equip their students for the rapidly changing global economy.

HACU recommends:

New language and authorization levels for HSIs under Title VI to expand and enhance international education programs via infrastructure and curriculum support, faculty development, cross national collaboration, and outreach.

HSIs today provide education opportunity for over 50% of all Hispanics enrolled in post secondary education. These numbers are expected to increase significantly during the first decade of the 21st century, driven in larger part by Hispanic youth whose numbers are expanding at a faster rate than any other segment of the U.S. population. By the year 2015 college enrollment by Hispanics is expected to grow by 73% in comparison to 5% for Whites and 23% for African Americans.

As other immigrant groups have done in the past, the Hispanic community is beginning to reach out in greater numbers to access postsecondary education. HSIs, as well as other colleges and universities, must begin preparing for this new wave of high school graduates with a high motivation to achieve a college education but with limited resources to assist them toward this goal. HEA will continue to be the important linchpin in the federal effort to provide leadership and resources to the nation's higher education system. These HEA recommendations represent some of the most critical education issues that affect the potential for Hispanics to succeed in achieving a college education.

The members of HACU's Governing Board, the presidents of HSIs, and HACU's president and staff are all available to meet with you and the appropriate individuals within the U.S. Department of Education to elaborate in greater depth on any or all of these recommendations.

John Moder
Vice President/COO
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)

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Last Modified: 02/05/2009