The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) hosted a meeting between Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) presidents and the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Oct. 25th in Chicago, prior to its 27th Annual Conference, "Championing Hispanic Higher Education Success: Securing the American Dream," Oct. 26-28, 2013, Hilton Chicago. This was the first meeting of its kind between the Secretary of Education and HSI presidents.
Secretary Duncan had asked for the meeting to get input on the President's proposals for higher education affordability and accountability. Over a dozen presidents and chancellors of HSIs took advantage of the meeting to express their support for greater transparency on college costs, but also their concerns with the proposal to create a new rating approach to colleges and universities and tie those ratings to federal aid. Earlier this summer, the White House released a Fact Sheet on the President's Plan to Make College More Affordable: A Better Bargain for the Middle Class.
HSI leaders at the meeting also expressed their concerns with continuing cuts to federal programs for these institutions and encouraged the administration to show increased support for these programs in their FY 2015 budget request. "On average there are about twelve new HSIs every year. Last year alone 44 more institutions became HSIs. However, instead of increasing support to meet the increasing need, federal funding for HSI programs has gone down significantly," said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores. "Our institutions will not be able to prepare the next generation of leaders if we don't give them the resources to do so. It is crucial that our administration acknowledge that fact by including a significant funding request for programs that help these institutions build their capacity," pointed out Flores.
Flores also called for a President's Advisory Board for Hispanic-Serving Institutions similar to existing Boards for HBCUs and Tribal Colleges and Universities to directly represent the issues faced by HSIs to the Administration.
This was the first in a series of meetings that the U.S Department of Education plans to hold during the next months to receive input on their new proposal. HACU will continue to work with the Department of Education to ensure this proposal adequately serves the needs of our nation's HSIs and the students they serve.
HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores and the following presidents and chancellors were in attendance at the College Affordability Round Table:
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) represents approximately 450 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America and Spain. For more information, visit www.hacu.net.