Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Washington UPDATE: Small Programs at Risk in House Bill

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Washington UPDATE: Small Programs at Risk in House Bill

Article excerpt

Washington UPDATE: Small Programs at Risk in House Bill.

A summer lull in congressional action is giving college and university officials a chance to read some of the fine print in a Republican bill to cut education spending next year.

Provisions to restructure the Pell Grant program and freeze funds for historically Black colleges and universities have received considerable attention from HBCU leaders. Added to this concern is a 400-page report recently distributed on the bill that outlines cuts or elimination of hundreds of small programs in higher education, including many utilized by students of color.

Health care programs to recruit and train underrepresented minorities are among those facing restructuring under the House bill, H.R. 2127. The plan would eliminate the Centers of Excellence program at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which uses federal dollars to strengthen programs to educate minority students in health professions.

The program, currently funded at $20 million, would be combined with 15 other health programs into a consolidated block grant under H.R. 2127.

The same bill also eliminates a $17- million program of scholarships for disadvantaged students pursuing careers in health care. This program also would become part of a larger block grant.

H.R. 2127 maintains a current funding of $20.6 million for the HHS Office of Minority Health but transfers the program into the office of the HHS secretary.

Proponents of these changes said they would help promote efficiency, but Democrats criticized the vast changes in both the funding and structure of federal programs.

"The bottom line is that this bill does not include enough money to meet the federal obligation to protect and improve the health and well-being of all of us in the United States, but particularly of the most vulnerable among us," said Rep. …

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