Issue Background

Appropriations for HSIs

HACU's Position
HACU supports increased federal appropriations for HSIs, which now total 539, and will continue to grow with the changing demographics of our population. 

The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate must pass, on an annual basis, 12 appropriation bills to fund the federal government. Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) are currently eligible to compete for targeted funding in three separate departments/agencies. These are the latest funding levels for these programs.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Appropriations for HSI Programs



Program Use & Link

FY 2021 Funding

Dept. of Education

Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Title V – Part A

Undergraduate education grants 


Dept. of Education

Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans

Title V – Part B

Graduate education grants 


Dept. of Education

HSI STEM & Articulation Program

Title III – Part F

STEM & articulation grants 


Dept. of Agriculture

HSIs Education Grants

Strengthen the ability of HSIs to carry out programs in the food & agricultural sciences 


National Science Foundation

Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: HSIs

To enhance the quality of undergraduate STEM education at HSIs


Background Information on the Federal Appropriations Process

Congress annually considers several appropriations measures, which provide discretionary funding for numerous activities—for example, education and national defense—as well as general government operations. 

Appropriations measures are under the jurisdiction of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. In recent years these measures have provided approximately 35% to 39% of total federal spending. The remainder of federal spending comprises direct (or mandatory) spending, controlled by House and Senate legislative committees, and net interest on the public debt.

The annual appropriations cycle is initiated with the President’s budget submission, which is due on the first Monday in February. This is followed by congressional consideration of a budget resolution that, in part, sets spending ceilings for the upcoming fiscal year. The target date for completion of the budget resolution is April 15. Committee and floor consideration of the annual appropriations bills occurs during the spring and summer months and may continue through the fall and winter until annual appropriations are enacted. 

Congress has established a process that provides for two separate types of measures associated with discretionary spending: authorization bills and appropriation bills. These measures perform different functions. Authorization bills establish, continue, or modify agencies or programs. Appropriations measures subsequently provide funding for the agencies and programs authorized. 

There are three types of appropriations measures. Regular appropriations bills provide most of the funding that is provided in all appropriations measures for a fiscal year and must be enacted by October 1, the beginning of the fiscal year. If regular bills are not enacted by the beginning of the new fiscal year, Congress adopts continuing resolutions to continue funding, generally until regular bills are enacted. Supplemental appropriations bills provide additional appropriations to become available during a fiscal year.

COVID-19 emergency funding & its impact on HSIs

Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748) CARES Act on March 27, 2020, which provided $2 trillion in emergency relief to address some of the worst effects of the economic downturn resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The bill provided $30.75 billion to the Department of Education for an “Education Stabilization Fund,” and allocated $13.95 billion for higher education.

The CARES Act allocated $214.53 million specifically for HSIs under Title V, which was based on the proportion of funding that HSIs were appropriated in FY 2020 discretionary funding.

HACU is pleased that HSIs were allocated funding in the CARES Act. However, HSIs have been historically underfunded and only receive, on average, 68 cents for every federal dollar going to all other colleges and universities annually despite educating a disproportionately low-income and underrepresented student population. The $214.52 million is woefully inadequate for the unprecedented challenges that HSIs are facing and will continue to face in responding to the evolving coronavirus pandemic. HACU will continue to work with Congress to increase HSI funding in subsequent emergency relief bills.

COVID-19 resources

Additional resources

Did you know?
HSIs only receive 68 cents for every federal dollar going to all other colleges and universities annually, per student, from all federal funding sources.