From: The Honorable Juan Vargas
Sent By: Daniel.gaytan@mail.house.gov
Date: 3/7/2016

DEADLINE: COB Thursday, March 10, 2016

*This is a programmatic request*

Co-signers: Cárdenas, Cartwright, Grasyson, Guttierrez, Hastings, Hinojosa, Jackson Lee, Kirkpatric, Lowenthal, Sires, Titus, Vela, Velasquez, Wilson (FL), 

Dear Colleague,

Please join me in urging the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science to include funding for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) across the nation.  I am requesting $40 million for the Title VII-HSI Grants Program, $40 million for Hispanic-Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACU), $10 million for the HSACU Endowment Fund, and $30 million for the HSI Program at the National Science Foundation.

Only 15.2 percent of the Hispanic Population holds a bachelor’s degree, while a mere 4.2 percent holds an advanced degree.  HSIs play a crucial role in addressing this educational disparity, enrolling 60 percent of Hispanic college students and 18 percent of all students in non-profit postsecondary education.  Despite this crucial role in education, HSIs continue to be underfunded year after year.  Please join me in urging House appropriators to provide essential funding for HSIs across the nation.

If you have any questions or if you would like to sign on to the letter, please contact Daniel Gaytan of my staff atDaniel.Gaytan@mail.house.gov or  5-8045.

Sincerely,

Juan Vargas

 

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Dear Chairman Aderholt, Ranking Member Farr, Chairman Culbertson, and Ranking Member Honda:

As you consider appropriations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, we respectfully request that the House Appropriations Committee consider the following requests for several programs that support the 409 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) across the nation.

Hispanic students continue to be at a disadvantage as only 15.2 percent of the Hispanic population holds a bachelor’s degree and a mere 4.2 percent holds an advanced degree.  As our labor markets continue to evolve, it is imperative that we prepare Hispanic students to enter a labor force that increasingly demands higher levels of education.

HSIs play a crucial role in addressing this achievement gap, enrolling 60 percent of Hispanic college students and 18 percent of all students in non-profit postsecondary institutions.  Despite serving such a vital role in educating our next generation of leaders, HSIs continue to be underfunded, receiving only 69 cents for every dollar going to all colleges and universities annually, per student, across all federal funding sources.

In an effort to address a portion of the funding shortage for HSIs, the 2008 Farm Bill included a new federal designation, Hispanic-Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACUs) for HSIs offering degree programs in agriculture and related areas.  The legislation authorized new programs for HSACUs to strengthen their capacity to serve Hispanic students and other low-income students pursuing degrees in agriculture and related fields.  We respectfully request that you include $40 million for the Title VII- HSI Grants Program, $40 million for the HSACU Institutional Capacity- Building Grant Program and $10 million for the HSACU Endowment Fund.

Additionally, the America COMPETES Act, which was most recently reauthorized in 2011, created an HSI program at the National Science Foundation (NSF).  The HSI Program is designed to increase the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of Hispanic students pursuing degrees in science, mathematics, engineering or technology and to increase the quality of STEM education.  We respectfully request that you include $30 million for the HSI Program at the NSF.

Given the state of our nation’s economy and with rising enrollments at community colleges and minority-serving institutions, federal investments in these programs are vital.  Thank you for your consideration of these requests.

Sincerely,