Mr. Richard Trevino, University of Texas - Pan American President National HEP-CAMP Association
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KANSAS CITY, MO
March 7, 2003
Good Afternoon, I am Richard Trevino, president of the National HEP-CAMP Association. On behalf of the Association, thank you for the opportunity to present our recommendations for the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
For 35 years the High School Equivalency Program has been helping migrant young people who have dropped out of school get back into the education pipeline and receive their GED or high school equivalency. For 30 years, the College Assistance Migrant Program has been recruiting into college young migrants, who graduate from high school or get their GEDs, and providing them those special services they need so much to get through that crucial first year of postsecondary education.
The High School Equivalency Program (HEP) provides education and counseling services to migrant students who have dropped out of high school so they can pass the GED examination. Services to students include academic instruction, counseling, computer assisted teaching, career awareness, and assistance with job or postsecondary education placement.
The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) begins by recruiting talented migrant high school and GED graduates, who aspire to a postsecondary education but who lack adequate resources. The programs work extensively with both the students and their families. During the summer preceding their freshman year, the program introduces the students and parents to campus and outlines the expectations for their first year. It then assists those students in their first year of college with personal and academic counseling, mentoring, and stipends.
Before the Federal Government created these programs, there was no record of a migrant child having completed college. Since their inception, both programs have achieved stunning success rates. For the projects that received five-year grants in 1999, 73 percent of the HEP participants have received their GEDs while over 90 percent of the CAMP students have successfully completed their first year of college. Over the history of the program, nearly three-quarters of all CAMP students graduate with baccalaureate degrees. Without HEP and CAMP, the Higher Education Act's promise of access to college would be out of reach for most migrant students.
The incredible success of HEP and CAMP graduates speaks to the real success of the programs. Our students have become doctors, lawyers, dentists, teachers, research chemists, engineers, and the list goes on and on. Several of our former CAMP students have worked for Members of Congress and Cabinet Secretaries, and can be found in State Capitols across the country. Many graduates have returned to become HEP and CAMP project directors; so they can provide the help to other young people that they received.
The National HEP-CAMP Association urges the Department to strengthen and expand these programs during reauthorization. Currently, there are 102 programs serving roughly 15,000 students in 26 states and Puerto Rico. Many areas have no access to HEP and CAMP programs at all. Based on the Department of Education's estimate of 750,000 school-aged migrant children, over the next 5 years, there will be over 170,00 migrant children who will become dropouts and eligible for HEP services and our CAMP programs will have approximately 140,000 students who will qualify for services. The need for services far outstrips our current ability to provide them.
Our recommendations for HEP and CAMP focus on:
- expanding opportunity for migrant youth by establishing a pilot pre-HEP program that will serve students whose academic abilities do not meet the minimum requirements for HEP;
- ensuring program integrity by establishing technical assistance programs, similar to others within the Department, that notify potential applicants when new projects are available and how to apply for them, and that provide training to new projects to ensure successful implementation of the program; and
- providing for additional services for students that will help ensure their success, such as including preparation for college entrance exams as an allowable activity for HEP, increasing follow-up services for HEP, adding child care services for both HEP and CAMP, and allowing internships for CAMP.
In addition to strengthening HEP and CAMP, the Department should take full advantage of the opportunity that reauthorization offers to fully expand college access by:
- advocating the passage of the Student Adjustment Act/DREAM Act so that undocumented students who have attended schools in the United States and who have graduated from its high schools, or received an equivalent diploma can pay in-state tuition rates at public institutions and participate fully in our society as legal residents;
- strengthening the outreach programs in the Higher Education Act and maintaining the integrity of both GEAR UP and TRIO as distinct, but complementary programs; and closing the unmet need gap through increased grant aid.
Thank you, again for this opportunity to testify. In the attached table, we outline our specific recommendation to enhance the services to the migrant population, to increase program accountability, and to increase resources for the programs.
I will be happy to answer any questions you might have.