Rep. Cuellar Successfully Includes Language in Appropriations Bill to Support Educational and Outreach Programs for Minority Institutions
President Obama has proclaimed Sept. 12-16 as National Hispanic-Serving Institution Week in the United States.
In commemoration of National Hispanic-Serving Institution Week and National Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins Sept. 15, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) today announced that he successfully included funding and language in several House Fiscal Year 2017 Appropriations bills that encourage federal agencies to support institutions and outreach programs that benefit minority students and communities. The language has passed the Committee and will need to be included in an end of year funding bill and passed by both the full House and Senate.
Congressman Cuellar’s language calls on various federal agencies to ensure that their efforts reach the widest possible audience, including Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and other minority serving institutions.
Texas is home to several HSIs and HBCUs, many of which are located in the 28th District, whose population is more than 70 percent Hispanic. Congress and the Obama Administration have worked to improve educational outcomes and opportunities for every American, including Hispanics, through annual appropriations bills and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, by investing more than $1 billion in HSIs over ten years and by expanding Pell Grants and offering tuition tax credits.
“I understand the importance of expanding higher education opportunities for young people, especially those in traditionally-underrepresented groups in our society,” Congressman Cuellar said. “I believe that education is the great equalizer in our country. But today, college is more expensive than it ever has been. As a graduate of Hispanic-Serving institutions and the representative for many of these institutions, I believe it is imperative that we work with federal agencies to enhance the opportunities for all Americans, especially minority students, so that everyone has an equal chance at climbing the educational ladder to success.”
HSIs are degree-granting institutions with full-time enrollments that are at least 25 percent Hispanic and serve a higher proportion of low-income students than other institutions of higher education. 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)
Cuellar’s HSIs funding and language was included in the House Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies; Defense; Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Interior, Environment and Related Agencies; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; Legislative Branch; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bills.
Specifically, the congressman added the following to these appropriation bills:
· In the Agriculture bill, 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, Science and Related Agencies bill, Congressman Cuellar included language calling on the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a new program focused on Hispanic Serving Institutions within 120 days of enactment and demonstrate at least a $30 million investment in this program by the end of the fiscal year. Further he ensured that HSIs will be represented in NASA’s STEM Education and Accountability Program (SEAP) and encouraged NSF to partner with HSIs on cybersecurity research.
· In the Defense bill, Congressman Cuellar continued funding in the amount of $35.6 million for the Historically-Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions Program, this is $12 million above the President’s budget request. Cuellar also added language to encourage partnerships with HSIs within the National Security Education Program to ensure diversity within the Intelligence Community and to increase the number of analysts with proficiency in critical languages and critical studies, as well as improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) participation and opportunities for underrepresented minorities.
· In the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies bill, Congressman Cuellar added $2.456 million for a total funding amount of nearly $19 million for the Minority-Service Institution Partnerships Program. Cuellar also added language that encourages 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 bill, Congressman Cuellar added language to speed up the hiring process within the federal government for qualified employees, while focusing on recruiting talent for federal agencies from HSIs.
· In the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill, Congressman Cuellar secured language encouraging all agencies funded by this bill to support educational and outreach programs to reach HSIs. Congressman Cuellar also included language supporting the Smithsonian Latino Center and their goals of expanding Smithsonian Institution programs, exhibitions, collections and public outreach. The Smithsonian Latino Center is focused on ensuring Latino art, history, and culture are represented throughout the Smithsonian Institutions. It also supports scholarly research, educational programs, and professional development programs.
· In the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill, Congressman Cuellar continued funding in the amount of $177.5 million; $107.8 million for the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program, and $9.7 million for the Promoting Post Baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans Program.
· In the Legislative bill, Congressman Cuellar added language that encourages the Library of Congress to increase cooperative partnerships, fellowship opportunities and curriculum program associations with HSIs.
· In the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies bill, Congressman Cuellar inserted language encouraging the VA to work with medical schools at HSIs.
· In the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies bill, Congressman Cuellar included language encouraging the U.S. Department of Transportation to partner with HSIs for research on minority-owned businesses.
To see the language Congressman Cuellar added, please see the attached document, or click here.