ACE and a group of 36 higher education associations sent a community letter to Congress on Oct. 14, asking members to reject the massive cuts to Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) proposed in the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee draft FY 2012 funding bill.
The House proposal would eliminate a total of 41 percent of all federal funding for MSIs, including an 83 percent reduction for Hispanic-Serving Institutions and a 36 percent reduction for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It would eliminate all funding for institutions serving Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, Alaskans and Pacific Islanders.
“[MSIs] are cost-effective and efficient pathways that enable students from all walks of life—especially low-income, first generation students from chronically underserved communities—to enroll in higher education and to graduate, with benefits to themselves, their communities and the nation,” the groups wrote. “MSIs educate disproportionate numbers of traditionally underrepresented minorities in STEM and other growth and high-need disciplines. Drastic cuts in funding for these schools will unavoidably have a disastrous effect on minority students’ college participation and completion at precisely the time the federal government is eager to increase the number and percentage of Americans with degrees.”
Neither the House nor Senate bill is expected to receive floor consideration in its respective chamber but rather are starting points for eventual negotiations between Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Tom Harkin (D-IA) and House Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Denny Rehberg (R-MT).
However, the associations believe it is vital to protest this particular cut in the House bill now so Congress can better understand what an important role MSI funding plays for students and campuses.