Hurd Fights for Educational Opportunities for all Texans
by Will Hurd on September 18, 2019 at 2:08 PM
Yesterday, I continued my efforts to make sure Texans of all backgrounds have access to educational opportunities by supporting the bipartisan Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act (H.R. 2486). This bill, which passed the House unanimously, renews funding for STEM education, student completion and infrastructure programs that are vital for the success of students of Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), including Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
The 23rd District of Texas is home to five HSIs, including Southwest Junior College in Uvalde; Sul Ross State University in Alpine; and Palo Alto College, Baptist University of the Américas and Texas A&M University of San Antonio, which are located in San Antonio. In addition, the University of Texas San Antonio, Our Lady of the Lake University, the Alamo Colleges District, El Paso Community College and the University of Texas El Paso are located outside of the District but also serve many students from the 23rd Congressional District.
Access to educational opportunities is vital to growing our economy, opening doors for young people and driving innovation across all industries. I’m proud to support this bipartisan bill that provides vital funding to support STEM programs at MSIs and I will continue to do all that I can to make sure today’s students can learn the skills needed to play a part in keeping America safe from 21st century threats and beyond.
“The legislative support from Rep. Will Hurd and the U.S. House of Representatives for the FUTURE Act will continue to change the landscape of education across the nation,” said Dr. Robert Garza, president of Alamo Colleges District-Palo Alto College in San Antonio, TX. “As a Hispanic Serving Institution, we’ve seen the direct impact of investing in the education of our future workforce, and allowing our students to continue to learn and thrive is imperative to the growth of our community.”
“Sul Ross State University became a Hispanic Serving Institute in 1999 following years of a large minority enrollment at the university. Now, just past our centennial, we find that the importance of continuing this legacy remains just as strong. The University provides opportunities for students to find pathways toward careers in growing industries within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. By providing student support through enhanced student to faculty ratios (15:1), increased academic scholarship and research grant opportunities, and programs like the McNair Scholars and Borderland Research Symposium, the university encourages and showcases undergraduate and graduate research that focuses on higher levels of academic attainment. Our student population reflects the region that we serve and we proudly provide higher education to students seeking degrees in STEM fields, this funding makes these types of opportunities possible for us,” said Dr. Bill Kibler, President, Sul Ross State University.
“For the past decade Title III, Part F of the Higher Education Act has played a vital role in enhancing the STEM pipeline at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and expanding institutional capacity at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Predominantly Black Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions. For instance, HSIs account for 15 percent of institutions of higher education yet produce 40 percent of STEM bachelor’s degrees earned by Hispanic students,” said Antonio R. Flores, president and CEO, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. “As the nation becomes increasingly diverse and the number of our institutions continues to grow, federal funding for these schools is more important than ever to ensure that we prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs. Congress needs to pass the FUTURE Act before the program’s authority expires on September 30th.”