SEARAC Denounces Senate Inaction, Demands Immediate Funding for AANAPISIs

Washington, DC–Today, Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, released a limited set of higher education bills that fails to set up all students–especially underserved and marginalized students–for postsecondary success. He also continues to block the Senate from voting on the bipartisan FUTURE Actwhich would reauthorize Asian American Native American Pacific Islanders Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs) before funding for the programs expires on September 30. With his inaction on the FUTURE Act, he holds hostage critical funding for students of color and low-income students to push a narrow set of bills that neither comprehensively reauthorizes the Higher Education Act in service of all communities nor addresses students’ civil rights.

“It is disgraceful that Sen. Alexander pushes his own stripped-down set of higher education bills instead of allowing the Senate to vote on the FUTURE Act,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC. “SEARAC and the civil rights community have repeatedly called for a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that ensures that all students–including SEAA students–can thrive and protects students’ civil rights. The senator’s bill package fails to do this, and his refusal to let the Senate pass the FUTURE Act before next Monday jeopardizes the education and success of millions of students of color and low-income students across the country.”

TAKE ACTION: Call your senators to let them know that you support funding for AANAPISIs because they support low-income and first-generation SEAA students

Here is what you can do:

1. Call the US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to get connected to your senators or click here to find your senators’ info.

2. You can say: “My name is ____, and I’m from (city), (state). I’m calling today to urge the Senate to vote immediately on the FUTURE Act (HR2486), which has already passed the House. The FUTURE Act must be signed into law before September 30 in order for AANAPISIs and other minority serving institutions to get the funding they need to support low-income and first-generation SEAA students and other students of color. However, Sen. Lamar Alexander is preventing the Senate from voting on this crucial bill. Students of color and low-income students have a right to thrive in higher education. Can I count on [senator’s name] to demand that the Senate immediately takes a vote to pass the FUTURE Act?”

Take Action: Demand That Your Senators Support Southeast Asian American Students through AANAPISI Funding

Kayhlia Yang is a current student at UCLA and a recent graduate of Irvine Valley College, an AANAPISI community college in California. Kayhlia transferred to IVC after a year at a different institution because of the opportunities that IVC’s AANAPISI programs could offer her.

“AANAPISIs are important because they allow for Asian American students, like myself, to come together and feel a sense of belonging,” Kayhlia said. “This space has allowed me to build relationships I know will last a lifetime. ANAAPISIs allow for there to be a community-based foundation for Asian American students who need that … and witness what higher education has done for others.”

Kayhlia says that being a part of the AANAPISI program at IVC made a huge impact on her academics, career goals, and her Asian American identity. Last year, she applied to seven University of California campuses to continue her studies- – and was accepted at all seven!
Funding for Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs) expires on September 30 — just days from today. These programs are critical to the success of underserved students of color and low-income students, including many Southeast Asian Americans who are first in their families to attend college. Despite this urgency to renew funding, Congress has yet to pass a reauthorization of these programs. The House of Representatives approved a two-year renewal last week through the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act, but the Senate is refusing to take up the bill.

TAKE ACTION: Call your senators to let them know that you support funding for AANAPISIs because they support low-income and first-generation SEAA students

Here is what you can do:

1. Call the US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to get connected to your senators or click here to find your senators’ info.

2. You can say: “My name is ____, and I’m from (city), (state). I’m calling today to urge the Senate to vote immediately on the FUTURE Act (HR2486), which has already passed the House. The FUTURE Act must be signed into law before September 30 in order for AANAPISIs and other minority serving institutions to get the funding they need to support low-income and first-generation SEAA students and other students of color. All students have a right to thrive in higher education. Can I count on [Senator’s name] to support the FUTURE Act?”