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Letter from Alliance for Equity in Higher Education

Letter from Alliance for Equity in Higher Education

The Honorable John Boehner
Chairman, Committee on Education and the Workforce
The Honorable George Miller
Ranking Member, Committee on Education and the Workforce
U.S. House of Representatives
2181 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC  20515

Dear Representatives Boehner and Miller:
The Alliance for Equity in Higher Education was founded in 1999 to serve as a consensus-building mechanism and to advise the nation of the importance and productivity of minority-serving institutions.  As the Chief Executive Officers of the three national organizations comprising the Alliance and representing our nation’s minority-serving institutions (MSIs), we are writing to address concerns that have been raised as a result of recently announced efforts to restructure the House Education and the Workforce subcommittees. These changes would separate programs that are authorized under the Higher Education Act (HEA), and give two different subcommittees jurisdiction over programs that traditionally have fallen under the auspices of one subcommittee.
In recent days, we have had numerous discussions with both Republican and Democratic leaders and their senior staff. We appreciate the commitment and reassurances that have been offered on behalf of our nation’s minority-serving institutions, but we remain concerned about the implications of these changes over the long term. Moreover, we have been told by Members of the Republican leadership that the proposed restructuring will provide Congress an opportunity to give heightened review to issues of concern to our respective communities, including efforts to conduct bipartisan visits to some of our member campuses, hold joint subcommittee hearings, increase resources in a number of critical programmatic areas, and work with the Administration to ensure that our issues are addressed, particularly as they relate to student aid, teacher development, infrastructure needs, corporate partnerships, research, and technology.
While we appreciate these assurances, in whatever final subcommittee structure is approved, we ask the committee to take proactive steps to ensure that: (1) the needs and issues affecting MSIs are addressed as a part of any larger policy discussions related to higher education and training, particularly those issues related to 21st Century competitiveness and student assistance programs; (2) increased resources and attention be given to programs and efforts that will strengthen our ability to educate and train the disadvantaged students who attend our institutions, and that will benefit the underserved communities we serve; and (3) a review will be made during this session to assess our progress.
Again, we appreciate your commitment, assistance, and counsel, and would be pleased to meet with you to clarify our recommendations as deliberations on this issue proceed. Thank you for all that you do to keep the doors of opportunity open and to open them wider.
Gerald Gipp, Executive Director, AIHEC
Antonio Flores, President and CEO, HACU
Henry Ponder, President, NAFEO

CC: Honorable J.D. Hayworth, Co-Chair, Native American Caucus; Honorable Rubén Hinojosa, Chair, Education Task Force, Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Honorable Peter Hoekstra; Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson, Chair, Congressional Black Caucus; Honorable Dale Kildee, Co-chair, Native American Caucus; Honorable Howard “Buck” McKeon; Honorable Silvestre Reyes, Chair, Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Honorable J.C. Watts

On March 3, 2001, Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla. Issued a letter to HBCU Presidents. See www.blackissues.
com for complete text)

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