ACE, Higher Education Groups Call on House to Extend Funding for STEM Programs at HBCUs, Other MSIs
Published: September 16, 2019

ACE President Ted Mitchell: Diversifying our STEM workforce should be a national priority

Note: On Sept. 17, the House passed the FUTURE Act by voice vote​. Action now moves to the Senate, which has until Sept. 30 to pass the bill. 

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As the House of Representatives prepares to vote tomorrow on a bill to extend funding for STEM programs at colleges and universities serving predominantly minority student populations, ACE and 43 other higher education groups sent a letter to House leaders offering full support for the measure.

The Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (H.R. 2486) would extend a vital mandatory funding stream for STEM education at institutions that serve large numbers of low-income, first-generation students of color, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). It was introduced by Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC) and Mark Walker (R-NC) and has bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.

The program has been in existence for a decade, but it will terminate on Sept. 30 if Congress does not act.  

“Diversifying our STEM workforce should be a national priority and achieving this goal would pay immediate dividends to our economy and, most importantly, help ensure that all members of our society have equitable access to quality STEM education and the resulting opportunities,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell in a statement today.

According to a recent ACE report, the educational outcomes and STEM readiness of approximately 20 million students of color in the United States “will have direct implications on America’s economic growth, national security, and global prosperity.”

“With the elimination of this critical federal funding, together, MSIs would face a collective financial shortfall of $255 million,” said Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of Thurgood Marshall College Fund in an op-ed last week published in The Hill. “The loss of this funding could potentially destabilize essential university programs that can and do serve students well beyond college and into their careers.”

If the House measure passes, Mitchell said that ACE looks forward to working with the Senate to ensure the bill is “promptly taken up and passed in that body and enacted into law.”