Higher Education Financing
The legal category of higher education financing significantly departs from the other groupings, with higher education as the target educational level. In 1990, Mexican Americans living in the “Border Region” of South Texas filed LULAC v. Clements, complaining that although 20% of all Texans reside there, the region only receives 10% of the state's higher education funds.1 Although plaintiffs did not prevail, the attention generated by the case prompted the Texas Legislature to provide a considerable amount of funding to a number of targeted universities in the Border Region.
This chapter is structured as follows: (a) Mexican Americans' limited enrollment in higher education: Type I access problem; (b) limited funding for development of higher education institutions in high-density Mexican American geographic regions: Type II access problem; (c) LULAC v. Clements (1990) through Richards v. LULAC (1993); (d) a legal loss, but a legislative victory: the South Texas Border Initiative.
Higher Education: Type I Access Problem
In light of the low academic achievement of many Mexican American students, their high dropout rate from secondary schools, their unmet language needs, and their limited access in secondary schools to high-status knowledge via curriculum differentiation (see Valencia, 2002b), it is not at all surprising that these students enroll in higher education in disproportionately low numbers. This limited access is referred to as a “Type I” access problem,2 which has been a long-standing concern for Mexican Americans. From the 1920s through the mid-1940s, very few Mexican Americans attended institutions of higher education (San Miguel & Valencia, 1998). For example, nearly eighty years ago, Manuel (1930) surveyed institutions of higher education in Texas and reported that of the