ACCESSING HIGHER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 162, No. 111
(House of Representatives - July 11, 2016)

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[Pages H4613-H4615]
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              ACCESSING HIGHER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES ACT

  Mr. HECK of Nevada. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass 
the bill (H.R. 5529) to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to 
authorize additional grant activities for Hispanic-serving 
institutions, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 5529

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Accessing Higher Education 
     Opportunities Act''.

     SEC. 2. AUTHORIZED GRANT ACTIVITIES.

       Subsection (b) of section 503 of the Higher Education Act 
     of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1101b(b)) is amended--
       (1) by redesignating paragraphs (7) through (16) as 
     paragraphs (9) through (18), respectively; and
       (2) by inserting after paragraph (6) the following:
       ``(7) Student support programs, which may include 
     counseling, mentoring, and other support services, designed 
     to facilitate the successful advancement of students from 
     four-year institutions to postbaccalaureate doctoral degree 
     granting programs that prepare students for health care 
     occupations as such occupations are described in the most 
     recent edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook published 
     by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
       ``(8) Developing or expanding access to dual or concurrent 
     enrollment programs and early college high school 
     programs.''.

     SEC. 3. FUNDING.

       (a) Authorizations of Appropriations.--There are authorized 
     to be appropriated to carry out part A of title V of the 
     Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.), as 
     amended by this Act, $107,795,000 for fiscal year 2016.

[[Page H4614]]

       (b) Additional Extensions Not Permitted.--Section 422 of 
     the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. 1226a) shall 
     not apply to further extend the duration of the authority 
     under subsection (a).

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Nevada (Mr. Heck) and the gentleman from California (Mr. Takano) each 
will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Nevada.


                             General Leave

  Mr. HECK of Nevada. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their 
remarks and include extraneous material on H.R. 5529.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Nevada?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. HECK of Nevada. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 5529, the 
Accessing Higher Education Opportunities Act.
  Like many States, Nevada has a severe doctor shortage. While the 
number of patients is steadily increasing, there continues to be too 
few qualified healthcare providers to meet this growing demand for 
care. Additionally, according to the National Hispanic Medical 
Association, despite a continued rise in our country's Hispanic 
population, the number of physicians that identify as Hispanic is only 
5 percent.
  In an effort to help close this diversity gap, prepare more 
culturally competent healthcare providers, and address our Nation's 
doctor shortage, last year I joined with Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz from 
California to introduce H.R. 2927. That bill allowed Hispanic-Serving 
Institutions to utilize existing grant funds to create programs that 
support, encourage, and mentor prospective physicians as they navigate 
the necessary requirements to be accepted into medical school.
  Congress originally created the Developing Hispanic-Serving 
Institutions program in 1992. This program helps promote education 
opportunities for Hispanic students and allows the institutions serving 
them to make improvements that increase the quality of the education 
they offer.
  Today there are more than 400 HSIs across the country, and many other 
institutions are on the verge of becoming HSIs. In my State of Nevada, 
the College of Southern Nevada; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; and 
Nevada State College are among many other schools that either are or 
are on the verge of becoming an HSI. Additionally, the number of young 
Hispanic undergraduates enrolled full-time at a 2- or 4-year college 
has more than tripled in the past 23 years.
  It is clear Hispanic students have greater access to education 
opportunities than they did before the Developing HSIs program was 
created. Still, as I mentioned before, the Hispanic population remains 
underrepresented in various parts of the workforce, particularly in 
healthcare positions that require a doctoral-level degree.
  After meeting with local healthcare and education leaders in Nevada 
and working with the chairman and other members of the committee to 
address this issue, I am happy to offer H.R. 5529, as amended, the 
Accessing Higher Education Opportunities Act, with Congressman Hinojosa 
and Dr. Ruiz. H.R. 5529 expands on the bipartisan work of H.R. 2927 by 
allowing HSIs to use funds to support students to prepare them for 
healthcare-related doctoral programs.
  Additionally, I want to thank Congressman Hinojosa for joining me and 
Dr. Ruiz on this bill and adding an important provision that allows 
HSIs to work with local school districts to start or enhance dual 
enrollment opportunities in early college programs at high schools. 
These programs not only help students get into college, but they also 
enable students to earn college credits earlier in their academic 
career. As a strong supporter of dual enrollment programs, I want to 
thank Congressman Hinojosa for strengthening the bill with this 
important provision.
  Ultimately, this bill will help us address a growing doctor shortage 
and close the diversity gap among physicians by helping students at 
HSIs achieve the dream of a higher education. I urge my colleagues to 
support this bipartisan legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I rise in support of H.R. 5529, the Accessing Higher Education 
Opportunities Act. I would like to thank the gentleman from Nevada (Mr. 
Heck) for bringing this bill forward.
  Mr. Speaker, over the last 20 years, we have seen great growth in the 
number of Hispanic students attending institutions of higher education, 
particularly Hispanic-Serving Institutions, or HSIs.
  In 1990, there were only 135 colleges and universities with a 
Hispanic population over 25 percent. Today there are more than 400. 
From 2012 to 2013, nearly 60 percent of Hispanic college students 
attended an HSI, and these institutions were responsible for graduating 
40 percent of all Hispanics in the country. My district is home to two 
large Hispanic-Serving Institutions: The University of California-
Riverside and Riverside City College.
  Title V of the Higher Education Act supports critical resources for 
HSIs like these, improving their ability to promote student success. 
The bill we are considering today, H.R. 5529, allows title V grant 
funds to be used to expand access to dual or concurrent enrollment 
programs offered through HSIs. Dual and concurrent enrollment models, 
programs that allow high school students to take postsecondary level 
courses for credit, can produce a number of benefits for students, 
particularly those from low-income backgrounds and first-generation 
college students.
  Research shows that these programs increase high school completion, 
college enrollment, college persistence, and degree attainment. 
Furthermore, roughly 30 percent of dual and concurrent enrollment 
programs are career and technical education focused, which offers 
students the opportunity to earn credit toward a certificate or 
credential that prepares them for college and career success.
  Unfortunately, tuition and classroom material costs remain a barrier 
to enrollment in these successful models for many low-income students. 
It is my hope that H.R. 5529 will expand access to these programs at 
Hispanic-Serving Institutions in my district and across the country. I 
urge my colleagues to support H.R. 5529.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. HECK of Nevada. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of 
my time.
  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Virginia (Mr. Scott), who is also the ranking member of the Committee 
on Education and the Workforce.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the bill, and I would like to say a 
few brief words about the package of higher education bills being 
considered today.
  These bills will simplify the financial aid application process; they 
will help students make well-informed decisions when selecting a 
college and determining how to finance the education; and they will 
financially strengthen Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 
This bill expands access for high school students to dual and 
concurrent enrollment programs at Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Taken 
together, this package represents a step in the right direction for 
students and families.

  A college degree remains the surest path out of poverty and into the 
middle class. Census data shows that earnings increase as the level of 
education increases. In other words, the more you learn, the more you 
earn. In addition to increased earnings, individuals with higher levels 
of education are less likely to be unemployed, less likely to receive 
public assistance, less likely to work in unskilled jobs with little 
upward mobility, and less likely to become involved in the criminal 
justice system.
  The ability to attend college for many students is due in large part 
to the significant investment we have made in higher education through 
the Higher Education Act of 1965. As President Johnson said when he 
signed the HEA into law over 50 years ago: ``It means that a high 
school senior, anywhere in this great land of ours, can

[[Page H4615]]

apply to any college or any university in any of the 50 States and not 
be turned away because his family is poor.''
  HEA's goal was, and still is, to provide a pathway to the middle 
class for millions of working families around the country by making 
college affordable and accessible to everyone. Unfortunately, the 
initial promise of HEA has eroded. For far too many of our students, 
the principles of access and economic opportunity are in jeopardy. The 
bills considered today take a major step in restoring the original 
purpose of the Higher Education Act so that no child will be denied 
access to the opportunities afforded by higher education because his 
family is poor.
  Mr. HECK of Nevada. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. TAKANO. Mr. Speaker, I have no additional speakers, and I yield 
myself the balance of my time.
  In closing, I would like to again thank the gentleman from Nevada 
(Mr. Heck), my friend, for bringing this bill forward. I would like to 
thank Chairman Kline, Ranking Member Scott, and Mr. Hinojosa, the 
ranking member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce 
Training, for their work on this bill.
  I urge all of my colleagues to support H.R. 5529.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. HECK of Nevada. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the remainder of my 
time.
  Mr. Speaker, in closing, I want to underscore the purpose of this 
legislation. Yes, this bill will help us address a growing doctor 
shortage, and, yes, it will also help us close the diversity gap among 
physicians. But the Accessing Higher Education Opportunities Act, like 
a number of the bills on the floor today, is also about opportunity and 
helping students realize what they can achieve through higher 
education. This bipartisan bill will help more students obtain the 
knowledge and the skills they need to accomplish their goals and 
succeed in the workforce.
  I want to thank both Dr. Ruiz and Representative Hinojosa for their 
work in advancing these important reforms and for their continued 
leadership in helping more Americans pursue the dream of a higher 
education. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 5529, 
the ``Accessing Higher Education Opportunities Act,'' which amends the 
Higher Education Act of 1965 to authorize additional grant activities 
for Hispanic-serving institutions.
  At a time when American innovation and intellectual growth 
fundamentally depend on education, the accessibility of institutions of 
higher education is a critical concern in the struggle to maintain 
America's role at the forefront of global innovation.
  As a lifelong advocate of equal education opportunities for all 
students, I know the importance of making higher education accessible 
across all demographics, and I know we can do better.
  Without an honest effort to even the playing field for all students 
by ensuring that all students have the opportunity to extend their 
education as long as they can, America, as a country, stands to lose 
out on the brightest economic, academic, and political leaders of the 
future.
  To that end, this measure emphasizes the importance of equality of 
opportunity for all students pursuing higher level education by urging 
the expansion of grant programs for Hispanic-serving educational 
institutions.
  In particular, this measure amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 
to specifically:
  Support programs (which may include counseling, mentoring, and other 
support services) designed to facilitate the successful advancement of 
students from four-year institutions to post baccalaureate doctoral 
degree granting programs; and
  Develop or expand access to dual or concurrent enrollment programs 
and early college high school programs.
  Without this concrete measure to bolster support for Hispanic-serving 
institutions, institutions of higher education will fail to fulfill the 
American promise of equality of opportunity.
  In particular, I am proud to represent institutions such as the Lone 
Star College and the University of Houston Downtown, institutions that 
will directly benefit from increased efforts to further support 
Hispanic-serving educational institutions.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Nevada (Mr. Heck) that the House suspend the rules and 
pass the bill, H.R. 5529, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill, as amended, was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

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