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HACU to Host Live Forum on Hispanic Higher Education Issues

The Hispanic Information & Telecommunications Network (HITN) along with the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU) will broadcast a live forum on Hispanic higher education today at 5:30 p.m. (EST) featuring notable scholars and administrators.

Today’s forum is part of an on-going series hosted by HITN titled, “Destination Casa Blanca 2008: The Latino Voice in the Presidential Election.”  The English-language program is expected to air in more than 30 million homes nationwide, network officials say.

Scholars such as Dr. Milton Gordon, president of California State University, Fullerton, Rosa Pérez, chancellor of San José/Evergreen Community College, and Dr. Antonio Flores, president and CEO of HACU, will examine both presidential candidates’ platforms regarding education issues that impact U.S. Hispanic students and highlight the strengths and flaws of the candidates’ agendas.

Hispanics are the fastest-growing ethnic minority group in the United States and are projected to be the largest school-age population by 2050.

Listed among the most pertinent issues to be discussed is the continued absence of Hispanic-serving institutions from federal legislation and regulations that authorize targeted funding for higher education, the severe underrepresentation of Hispanics in the federal labor force, and college affordability for undocumented students who completed high school and desire to attend college.

 “As the fastest-growing segment of society in the United States, Hispanics are increasingly becoming the work force for tomorrow,” says Flores. “The better educated our work force, the better the United States can compete in the global economy.”

HACU, an organization representing approximately 450 colleges and universities, will submit to the presidential candidates its recommendations for increased funding for HSIs, the creation of targeted programs for HSI-enrolled students in science, technology, engineering and math fields and the advancement of DREAM Act legislation.

This series, launched in April, marks the first time in history that a national television program has focused solely on issues affecting the Hispanic community. Following an initial English-language debut, each show is rebroadcast in Spanish. Award-winning journalists Ray Suarez and Marlene Fernández will host today’s telecast. The series will be available on the Elections ’08 on Demand Channel.

“We have a unique opportunity to build a bridge between the candidates and the Hispanic communities through the usage of effective multimedia platforms,” says José Luís Rodriguez, CEO of HITN. “This forum is part of HITN and HACU’s mission to provide the right tools and education to help Latinos make the best decision during this presidential election.”

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