Meeting the national goal of having roughly 60% of Americans with a 2 or 4-year degree by 2020 requires markedly improving educational outcomes for diverse students, especially African Americans, Latinos, and American Indians. This requires more and more strategic investments in HBCUs, HSIs, and TCUs. The chief executive officers of The Alliance for Equity in Higher Education (AIHEC, HACU, NAFEO) met in June to hone collaborative strategies for educating federal & state lawmakers about the un paralleled return on investments in programs to shore up HBCUs and MSIs. These institutions are educating the lion’s share of African American, Latino, and Native American students in STEM, health professions, teaching professions and in evolving greening professions. The Alliance executives also reached consensus about efforts to educate key stakeholders regarding the importance of programs like TRIO, GEAR UP and the Pell Grant, that prepare, inspire, connect, and assist in retaining and increasing the graduation rates of students at HBCUs, PBIs, TCUs, and HSIs.
The Alliance Executives, Ms. Carrie Billy, President & CEO of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, Dr. Antonio Flores, President & CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and NAFEO’s own President Lezli Baskerille, were joined by Dr. Arnold Mitchum, President of the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) that oversees and provides technical support for all of the TRIO programs. Key among the issues discussed were collaborative efforts to connect the joint members of NAFEO, HACU and AIHEC with their legislators and other opinion shapers, to educate them about the need to restore Title III and Title V funds to 2010 levels, and the need to hold harmless HBCUs, PBIs, HSIs, TCUs, TRIO and GEAR UP as Congress seeks to offset the anticipated $11B Pell Grant shortfall.
The Alliance for Equity in Higher Education was established in 1999 by the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), and the NAFEO to represent the shared interests of Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Predominantly Black Institutions. The institutions represented by AIHEC, HACU and NAFEO, educate more than one-third of all students of color in the United States. Known as HBCUand Minority-serving Institutions (MSIs), these institutions disproportionately address the needs of low-income, minority students while contributing significantly to generating a highly skilled workforce, developing civic and community responsibility, and producing citizens who are exceptionally attuned to the increasingly diverse country in which we live.