Tri-Caucus Calls on Leadership to Support FUTURE Act

Nov 15, 2019 Issues: Education

Washington, D.C. – This week, Members of the Congressional Tri-Caucus – which includes the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), and Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) –  sent a letter to House leadership and appropriators to encourage including the FUTURE Act in an upcoming agreement to fund the government.

The letter was signed by Tri-Caucus leaders including CAPAC Chair Judy Chu (CA-27), CBC Chair Karen Bass (CA-37), CHC Chair Joaquin Castro (TX-20), and Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12), co-author of the FUTURE Act, as well as CHC Education and Labor Task Force Chair Raúl Grijalva (AZ-3), CAPAC Education Task Force Chair Mark Takano (CA-41), and CBC Education and Labor Task Force Co-Chairs Danny Davis (IL-7), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).

“The Future Act is important to the funding of all Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). These institutions of higher learning produce some of our nation’s brightest and most accomplished students and professionals in all fields, including in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. At a time when many families are struggling to survive and trying to plan for college, the Future Act is critical to providing mandatory funding for MSIs. Higher education is a proven path to professional success and financial security for many in our communities of color,” said the Tri-Caucus Chairs.

“The FUTURE Act is a bipartisan, bicameral bill that protects vital funding for our HBCUs and Minority-Serving Institutions,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams. “For too long, the needs of our HBCUs, TCUs, HSIs, PBIs, AANAPISIs, and MSIs have gone unaddressed, limiting opportunity for millions of low-income, first generation college students of color. With the Senate failing to act, we urge our colleagues to do the right thing and support the futures of our students and America’s STEM economy.”

Under Title III, Part F of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), this funding is used to support tutelage in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields at MSIs, but its authorization expired on September 30, 2019. H.R. 2486, the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act, which passed the House by voice vote on September 17th, would have extended mandatory funding for this program through FY 2021.

The full text of the letter is here and below:

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, Chairwoman Lowey, Chair DeLauro, Chairman Scott, Ranking Member Granger, Ranking Member Cole, and Ranking Member Foxx:

On behalf of the Congressional Tri-Caucus - composed of the Congressional Black (CBC) Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), we write to encourage you to work together to ensure vital mandatory funding is continued for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs), Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) in an extenders package with the next continuing resolution (CR). Institutions (MSIs) in an extenders package with the next continuing resolution (CR).

Under Title III, Part F of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), this funding is used to support Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and other uses at these institutions but recently expired on September 30, 2019. An extension of this funding was included in H.R. 2486, the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act, which passed the House by voice vote on September 17th, and would have extended mandatory funding through FY 2021.

HBCUs, TCUs, HSIs, PBIs, .AANAPISIs and the remaining MSIs will lose access to mandatory funding beginning in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, and it has been reported that some HBCUs are already beginning to notify their employees that their positions will be terminated in preparation for the loss of funding after FY 2019. According to a recent report, there are more than "20 million young people of color in the United States whose representations in STEM education pathways and in the STEM workforce [fall] ... far below their proportions of the general population." Also, it was emphasized in this report that "the educational outcomes and STEM readiness of students of color will have direct implications on America's economic growth, national security, and global prosperity."

It is imperative that we find an immediate way to reinstate mandatory funding for our HBCUs, TCUs, HSIs, PBIs, AANAPISIs and remaining MSIs to prevent termination of key STEM programs, and others, at these institutions of higher education. The CR provides an opportunity to save these institutions, and we cannot stress enough how important it is that an extension of this funding be included in an extenders package.

We thank you for your consideration of this request.