Press Release

Congressman Cuellar Directs Federal Agencies to Better Cultivate Relationships with Hispanic Serving Institutions

Across government funding bill, Cuellar scores successes for Hispanic students

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WASHINGTON, February 2, 2016 | Riley Brands ((202) 226-0507) | comments
Today Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) announced a key step forward in strengthening the relationship between federal agencies and institutions of higher education that primarily serve Hispanics. These colleges and universities, known as Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), are degree-granting institutions with full-time enrollments that are at least 25 percent Hispanic. The following HSIs can be found in the congressman’s district or the immediately surrounding areas:

• Baptist University of the Americas (San Antonio)
• Hallmark College (San Antonio)
• Laredo Community College
• Northwest Vista College (San Antonio)
• Our Lady of the Lake University (San Antonio)
• Palo Alto College (San Antonio)
• South Texas College (McAllen)
• St. Mary’s University (San Antonio)
• St. Philip’s College (San Antonio)
• Texas A&M International University (Laredo)
• The University of Texas at San Antonio
• The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
• The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
• University of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio)
• Wayland Baptist University (San Antonio)

Thanks to the support of Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Nita Lowey of New York, throughout the recently passed government funding bill, Congressman Cuellar added language in order to leverage the power of the federal government to improve Hispanic educational outcomes.

The Hispanic population of the United States is 55 million, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. Hispanics constituted 17 percent of the nation’s total population. In Texas the Hispanic population grew by 9.4 percent from 2010 to 2014, from 9,515,924 to 10,411,340. Unfortunately, according to the Census Bureau, fully 33.5 percent of Hispanics 25 and over had not completed high school as of 2014, as compared with 6.9 percent of non-Hispanic whites. Similarly, only 15.2 percent of Hispanics had at least a bachelor’s degree and 4.6 percent an advanced degree as of 2014, as compared with 35.6 percent and 13.3 percent, respectively, for non-Hispanic whites.

“I understand the importance of education to success,” Congressman Cuellar said. “That is why it was so important to me during the last appropriations cycle to fight for language that would enhance the opportunities for Hispanic students to climb the educational ladder and rise to success. By giving more opportunities to HSIs and their students, we can do just that.”

“Congressman Cuellar’s additions direct a number of federal departments and agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation, to increase or strengthen their efforts and collaborations with Hispanic-Serving Institutions,” said Antonio R. Flores, president and CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. “The nation’s future economic development will increasingly depend on the educational opportunities and successes made available today to Hispanics, the largest and fastest-growing demographic of college students in our society.”

Specifically, the congressman added the following language:

• In the Agriculture section, Congressman Cuellar added language directing the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to partner with Hispanic Serving Institutions on biotechnology programs.
• In the Commerce, Justice, and Science section Congressman Cuellar ensured that HSIs will be able to partner with NASA. He also included language encouraging the National Science Foundation to invest in STEM education at HSIs.
• In the Defense section, Congressman Cuellar added HSIs to the list of institutions with access to scientific and technical information products and services that encourage minority participation in STEM education.
• In the Energy and Water section, Congressman Cuellar encouraged the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories and the National Nuclear Security Administration to continue developing partnerships with HSIs.
• In the Financial Services and General Government section, Congressman Cuellar made sure to focus on recruiting talent for federal agencies from HSIs.
• In the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education section, Congressman Cuellar secured language requiring updates in the FY 2017 budget request on the latest efforts to increase STEM education at HSIs.
• In the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs section, Congressman Cuellar inserted language encouraging the VA to work with medical schools at HSIs.
• In the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development section, Congressman Cuellar included language encouraging the U.S. Department of Transportation to partner with HSIs for research on minority-owned businesses.