WASHINGTON— Congressman Henry Cuellar announced $50 million dollars in the U.S. House of Representatives’ fiscal year 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill for colleges and universities that serve Hispanic student populations, as well as language to promote Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) to partner with federal agencies. This funding will specifically target programs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). This bill passed full committee markup yesterday.
The NSF Program seeks to enhance the quality of undergraduate STEM education at HSIs and to increase retention and graduation rates of undergraduate students pursuing degrees in STEM fields at HSIs. In addition, the HSI Program seeks to build capacity at HSIs that typically do not receive high levels of NSF grant funding. The HSI Program is aligned with NSF’s commitment to increase access for underrepresented groups in STEM programs. NSF will allocate funds through a grant competition to fund STEM projects at HSIs.
For years, Congressman Cuellar has made it a priority to secure funding for HSIs in his district. In the 2017 fiscal year Appropriations bill, Congressman Cuellar secured $15 million for the first ever National Science Foundation (NSF) STEM program focused specifically on HSIs. The program was authorized by Congress in 2007, and finally received the necessary funding in FY17 thanks to Congressman Cuellar’s dogged advocacy. This program has grown significantly since 2017— in the 2018 fiscal year Appropriations bill, the Congressman successfully secured $30 million dollars. Over the course of three years, Congressman Cuellar has secured a total of $95 million dollars for this program.
There are more than a dozen Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in or near Congressman Cuellar’s district, including Laredo Community College, South Texas College, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, University of the Incarnate Word, and Texas A&M International University.
“I know firsthand the transformative power of education,” explained Congressman Cuellar. “I experienced it in my own life. I also see it every day in my district, as we have more than a dozen Hispanic-Serving Institutions serving our area. These schools produce top-notch academic talent, prepared for a 21st-century workforce. Our accomplishments today ensure that federal agencies do not miss out on this valuable population in research, partnerships, and hiring – and that these important institutions have the funds they need to continue to succeed.”
Congressman Cuellar added, “I want to give special thanks to my fellow Appropriators and Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson, and Ranking Member José Serrano, for helping me secure these funds and working with me to include this necessary language.”
“The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) is pleased to see increased funding for the NSF HSI program of $50 million in the FY2019 Commerce Justice Science appropriations bill,” said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores. “This program funding is critical to STEM infrastructure development at the nation’s 492 HSIs. We applaud the leadership of Rep. Cuellar for his commitment to ensuring that students majoring in STEM fields have the resources needed to prepare for these careers.”