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HACU proposes PK-12 and Higher Ed Collaboration Initiative for Federal Grant Funding

Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) across the country have just concluded another successful observance of National HSIs Week, celebrated this year from September 17-23. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) joined the celebration by releasing a Resource Page dedicated to its new legislative initiative, the PK-12 and Higher Ed Collaboration. This initiative would create a new Part C under Title V of the Higher Education Act for a grant program to support partnerships and collaboration between HSIs and Hispanic-Serving School Districts (HSSDs) that educate the majority of Hispanic students.

On the Resource Page, you will also find a recently launched interactive map that shows the geographic relationship between HSIs, HSSDs, Emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Emerging Hispanic-Serving School Districts. Click on this link for details on our PK-12 and Higher Education Collaboration initiative and to view our interactive maps.

The changing demographics in elementary and secondary schools in the United States, in addition to fueling the rapid growth of HSIs, also present new opportunities to address lingering achievement gaps between White and Hispanic students. For example, while progress has been made in high school completion and college matriculation rates, Hispanics still lag non-Hispanic Whites in education attainment. Too many Hispanic students still have little or no exposure to higher education opportunities during their early school years. Similarly, while more Hispanics than ever are going to college, less than half of them earn a bachelor’s degree. For too many low-income, first generation students, including Hispanics, the preparation provided by their earlier education experience is inadequate for success in a postsecondary environment.

In order to address these concerns, HACU has embarked on a new initiative to maximize the combined power of the PK-12 and the higher education systems. The proposed new program would support consistent and meaningful collaboration between the two systems.

In the coming months, we will continue our work with members of Congress to introduce a new Part C under the HSI Title V of the Higher Education Act. Stay tuned!

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Alicia Diaz

Executive Director Legislative Affairs, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)