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January 9, 2003

Press Release

Congressman David Wu Introduces Legislation to Improve Higher Education for APA Students

WASHINGTON - Congressman David Wu, Chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, has introduced legislation to improve higher education for APA students.

"A quality education opens doors of opportunity," said Congressman Wu. "A high school diploma is not enough to make it in today s economy, and I am proud to have introduced legislation to ensure that America s colleges and universities meet the educational needs of Asian and Pacific Americans."

Congressman Mike Honda, Vice-Chair of CAPAC, is an original cosponsor of the bill.

"This bill is crucial for APA communities that are often overlooked in the education funding process," said Rep. Mike Honda. "The APA community is diverse, and contrary to popular belief, many APAs come from low-income households and must overcome great obstacles to succeed in higher education. It is time we respond by providing institutional support for these students."

The bill, HR 333, authorizes grants for institutions of higher education that serve high numbers of APA students. The grants would be used to help schools improve and expand upon their capacity to serve APA students.

Schools with an undergraduate enrollment that is at least 10% APA would be eligible to apply for the grants. Schools where a majority of the APA students are low-income would receive preference in grant approval.

The bill would add an APA designation to the Higher Education Act for the first time. There are currently similar provisions for colleges and universities that serve large numbers of African American and Hispanic students.

Passage of the bill would have ramifications well beyond higher education. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Health and Human Services Agency (HHS) both have extensive partnerships and outreach programs in African American, Hispanic and Native American communities. These programs are determined by designations in the Higher Education Act. Amending the Act to include Asian Pacific Americans would result in an incentive and infrastructure for federal agencies to work more effectively with APA communities.

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