Adriano Espaillat

From the office of:

Adriano Espaillat

Sending Office: Honorable Adriano Espaillat
Sent By:

        Request for Signature(s)

Fund Minority STEM Education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Endorsed by: Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)


*This is a Programmatic Request**


Dear Colleague,

In 2007, Congress enacted language in the America COMPETES Act to create a dedicated National Science Foundation (NSF) grant program for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions. However, the National
Science Foundation resisted implementing the program for nearly a decade. In 2015, the House accepted a bipartisan amendment to the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act that strengthened language requiring the NSF to finally follow through and set up this
important program. That language became law at the beginning of 2017, and Congress provided partial funding for the first round of grants under the program. Following bipartisan support for an additional round of funding, NSF has provided a total of 42 awards,
but only 8.6 percent of the eligible institutions have been recipients of these competitive grants. This leaves a great majority of the 3.5 million students at HSIs without the critical infrastructure needed to update and grow their curriculum and student-support-services.
We hope you will join us this year in sending the below letter to the Appropriations Committee requesting that they provide $50 million for this critical program in Fiscal Year 2020.

Bringing underrepresented minorities, such as Hispanic students, into fields like STEM is crucial for our country to remain competitive in today’s economy. The nation’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions are uniquely poised to recruit and train students to enter
these fields. Yet, designated Hispanic-Serving Institutions have not been able to benefit from having a specific program at the NSF to obtain grants for curriculum and infrastructure development. The return on investment in HSIs also benefits the growing number
of Asian American Pacific Islander, African American, and Native American students enrolled in these institutions.

Implementing this program will send a powerful message to students across the country that all are welcome in the STEM fields, and we hope you will add your support to this letter to show that we are committed to ensuring opportunity for underrepresented students
to grow and develop in these exciting fields of academics and professional careers.

To sign on, or if you have any questions, please contact Shahryar M. Baig in my office at by
COB on Thursday, March 28


Adriano Espaillat 

Member of Congress   



March XX, 2019


The Honorable José E. Serrano                                  The Honorable Robert B. Aderholt

Chairman                                                                     Ranking Member

Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce,           Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce

Justice, Science and Related Agencies                       Justice, Science and Related Agencies

H-310, The Capitol                                                     H-310, The Capitol

Washington, D.C. 20515                                            Washington, D.C. 20515


Dear Chairman Serrano and Ranking Member Aderholt:


As you prepare the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we respectfully ask that $50 million be allocated to the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Undergraduate Program at the National Science Foundation
(NSF), as authorized in P.L. 110-69, the America COMPETES Act. We thank you for your support of this critical program for the past two years and would like to build on its success.


The NSF has long managed a number of targeted capacity-building programs at minority-serving institutions, which have clearly filled an important niche in the training of minority students for careers in the STEM fields that other programs throughout federal
agencies do not address. The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (P.L. 114-329), a reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act, included an important provision to require the NSF to finally implement a STEM capacity-building program at HSIs.


The HSI program is currently funded at $40 million annually. The previous allocations in FY 2017 and FY 2018, which combined amounted to $45 million, only provided a total of 42 awards—31 programmatic grants and 11 conference grants. Just 8.6 percent of
all eligible institutions were able to receive one of the competitive grants. This much-needed program allows HSIs to receive critical infrastructure development funding in order to involve more of the 3.5 million Hispanic students in higher education in the
science field, and it enables HSIs to improve their curricula, infrastructure, and student-support services.


The 523 HSIs also enroll a higher number of Asian American Pacific Islander, African American, and Native American students than any other group of institutions, so capacity-building will serve a broad array of students from minority communities. The requested
increase in funding will significantly improve the capacity at HSIs to home-grow the minority STEM potential talent already present in the United States and reduce our nation’s dependence on the importation of this vital workforce.


Given the clear importance of the HSI program, we urge the Appropriations Committee to strengthen this commitment and provide an increase in funding needed to continue to develop the program. If we want to reach Hispanic students, support their prospective
careers, and maximize our future economic development in the science and technology fields, HSIs provide the infrastructure and opportunity we need to build upon. These institutions have the expertise in the needs of their student body, and as such are best
equipped to build targeted STEM programs that will draw in Hispanic and minority students.


Together, we can help Hispanic students reach their rightful place in the STEM fields. We firmly believe that the implementation of this dedicated grant program for HSIs at the National Science Foundation was a critical step and appropriating $50 million
will allow implementation to continue serving the needs of the largest and youngest cohort of minority students in the country.

We appreciate your consideration of this request and continued support of HSIs.



Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Appropriations, Budget, Education, Science

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