SAN ANTONIO – Millions of students would be forced to drop out of college, or would be prevented from going to college at all, under a bill passed last week by the House of Representatives, warned a coalition of national organizations that represent Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs). The cuts for HBCUs and MSIs total approximately $250 million. In addition, the bill cuts the maximum Pell Grant, the government’s principal low-income financial aid program, by $845 per student. This would kick 1.7 million students out of the program, and would drastically reduce grant aid for the remaining 7.5 million students. The bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, and certain to be vetoed by the president in the form passed by the House.
The presidents and CEOs of the organizations opposing the cuts include Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., of UNCF (United Negro College Fund); Lezli Baskerville, Esquire, of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO); Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., J.D., of Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and Antonio R. Flores, Ph.D., of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). “These proposed cuts represent not only a refusal to invest in thousands of deserving students, but a refusal to invest in the future of our economy,” said UNCF president and CEO Lomax, Ph.D. “These young people are students today, but they are also our next generation of teachers, scientists, engineers and civic leaders. They need our help, and we need them to get an education and start their careers.”
By mid-century, the group pointed out, the U.S. will be a majority-minority country—minority groups will represent a majority of the U.S. population and the U.S. workforce. Making sure that these students get a college education will be key to keeping the U.S. competitive in the global economy. “We recognize the need to cut the deficit,” said Lezli Baskerville, President & CEO of NAFEO “but this disinvestment in our most precious resource, our next generation, is short-sighted. We need more college-educated, salary-earning tax-paying Americans, not fewer.”
HACU president and CEO Antonio R. Flores concurred and added that “unless more workers are trained for the new emerging Science, Technology and Engineering (STEM), jobs of the future, the nation will lose its leadership in international trade and in scientific discoveries.”
UNCF—the United Negro College Fund—is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 39 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 18 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) represent approximately 450 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain and Portugal. HACU is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas where it will celebrate its Silver Anniversary during its annual conference “25 Years of Championing Hispanic Higher Education Success,” October 29-31, 2011.
About Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc.
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc. (TMCF), named for the U.S. Supreme Court’s first African American Justice, was established in 1987 and represents the nation’s 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), 6 law schools and the nearly 300,000 students matriculating on their campuses. With TMCF member schools educating approximately 80% of all students attending HBCUs, the organization’s work is critical to guaranteeing our country a robust and diverse pipeline of talented workers and future leaders. TMCF achieves its vision of Changing the World...One Leader at a Time by focusing on three areas: Scholarships, Capacity Building & Programmatic Support, and Public Policy & Advocacy.
NAFEO is the professional association of the presidents and chancellors of the nation's historically and predominantly black colleges and universities. Founded in 1969, NAFEO represents more than 300,000 students and their families. NAFEO member institutions are public and private, 2- and 4-year, community, regional, national and international comprehensive research institutions, located in twenty-five states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Brazil.