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Read Senator Murray's Statement

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The U.S. Senate has increased funding for Latino students as part of its Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations bill, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced Thursday.

The bill now includes $10 million more to support Hispanic education priorities for everything from migrant education to language assistance and help with high school and college graduation.

“I am proud to have helped increase federal support for Latino students,” Senator Murray said. “Funding for Latino education tells a generation of young students that they can succeed and that our country believes in them.”

The progress came exactly one month after Murray convened a daylong summit with Hispanic leaders in Yakima. At the summit, community leaders discussed the educational challenges facing the Hispanic community among other topics.

Latinos are the nation’s largest minority group, yet only 22 percent are enrolled in post-secondary studies. Despite these statistics, many programs that specifically benefit Latino students had been eliminated or significantly reduced in the LHHS bill before Senator Murray and her colleagues worked to fix those cuts.

The President’s Budget Would Have Slashed HEP & CAMP

The President’s budget slashed funding for many educational programs including a 43 percent cut to the High School Equivalency Program (HEP). HEP provides education and counseling services to migrant students who have dropped out of high school so they can pass the GED.

The budget also cut funding for the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) by $400,000. CAMP recruits talented migrant high school and GED graduates who want to go to college, but don’t have the resources. CAMP helps students in their first year of college with personal and academic counseling, mentoring and stipends. Before the creation of the CAMP program, there was no record of a migrant child having completed college. Since that time, nearly three-quarters of all CAMP students have graduated with baccalaureate degrees.

“Without HEP and CAMP, college would be out of reach for the majority of migrant students. Congress has a proud tradition of ensuring that our most disadvantaged kids get a shot at the American Dream, and I will continue to stand up for all our children,” Murray said.

Murray Co-Sponsored An Amendment to Boost Funding, But It was Defeated

To fight those drastic cuts proposed by the President, Senator Murray co-sponsored an amendment that would have increased funding for Hispanic education dramatically. Unfortunately, that amendment (the Hispanic Educational Opportunities Act) was defeated largely along party lines.

Murray Kept Fighting and Got $10 Million for Hispanic Education

Despite that setback, Murray worked with Harry Reid (D-NM) and others to convince her colleagues to restore $10 million for Hispanic education. The efforts worked, and $10 million was secured to increase funding for:

Title III Language Assistance State Grants, $4 million – This program provides grants to states to implement programs for English language learner students under Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Migrant Education, $500,000 – Migrant education provides grants to states to implement programs for migrant students under No Child Left Behind.

High School Equivalency Programs (HEP), $3 million – HEPs provide services to migrant children to help them complete high school.

College Assistance Migrant Programs (CAMP), $500,000 – CAMPs provide services to migrant children to help them attend and graduate from college.

Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), $1 million –HSIs graduate approximately half of all Hispanic college degree holders.

Parent Assistance Programs, $1 million – Authorized in the No Child Left Behind Act, the Parent Assistance programs support community-based efforts to help parents understand their responsibilities and options under that law.

Still More Work To Do Before the Funding Is Official

Now that the funding bill has passed the Senate, it must be reconciled with the funding bill that passed the House of Representatives. Senator Murray will fight any attempts by the House to roll back the funding secured in the Senate bill.