House Approves Bill with HSL, HBCU Aid

House Approves Bill with HSL, HBCU AidMinority-serving colleges and universities would get new funds for undergraduate math and science programs under newly approved legislation in the House of Representatives.
The Investing in America’s Future Act has $30 million for a new initiative, the Minority Serving Institutions Undergraduate Program. This new initiative would include an existing science program for Black colleges, the HBCU-UP program, and provide additional funding to reach tribal colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions. Goals for this National Science Foundation (NSF) initiative are to increase outreach to undergraduates and improve instruction at the baccalaureate level.
In a move to help low-income and non-traditional students, the science bill also would allow part-time students to gain scholarships under the Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics Scholarship Program (CSEMS), designed to help low-income students pursue careers in computer science, technology, engineering and math. Current eligibility is limited to full-time students.
Rep. Lynn Rivers, D-Mich., citing her own past efforts to juggle work, family and college at the same time, proposed the amendment to open up the scholarship program to less than full-time students.
“This is a very simple amendment that will offer relief in some very complicated lives,” she said.
Prime beneficiaries of the new policy include community college students and older students seeking four-year degrees. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, a Congressional Black Caucus member and a senior member of the House Science Committee, also led efforts to amend the program.
By adding part-time students to the mix, the program will provide “talented, motivated and economically needy students with the resources they need to improve their quality of life and fulfill their dreams,” she said.
The provisions are part of a large bill to extend NSF programs. The legislation also could lead to a doubling of the total NSF budget within five years.  



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