Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.)
and Marco Rubio (R-FL)
introduced a bill that would give Hispanic-serving colleges and universities increased access to a grant program designed to encourage more students to pursue historic and cultural preservation. The program is similar to one already available to historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges, and nontribal colleges with a high enrollment of Native Americans or Native Hawaiians. The Preservation Research at Institutions Serving Minorities Act of 2013 amends the National Historic Preservation Act by expanding eligibility for technical and financial assistance for preservation training and degree programs to include colleges and universities that are officially considered Hispanic-serving institutions by the U.S. Department of Education — generally schools at which 25 percent or more of the students are Hispanic or Latino. “New Mexico has a long and rich history that includes over 500 years of Hispanic settlement, and our colleges and universities are well-positioned to take advantage of this program," Udall said. "This bill will help more students get inspired by our past and learn the skills to preserve our cultural history. Communities across our state can benefit — not only will encouraging historic preservation help us better understand our history, it's an economic development tool that can help increase tourism and create jobs." “We are fortunate to have such a rich and diverse culture here in our country, and preserving our unique heritage is important,” said Rubio. “By allowing Hispanic-serving institutions to become eligible for support to implement cultural education programs under the National Historic Preservation Act, we will ensure those who wish to learn about, preserve and remember their cultural and national heritage have the ability to do so.” More than 350 Hispanic-serving institutions across the country would benefit from the extended eligibility prescribed by the Preservation Research at Institutions Serving Minorities Act. Hispanic-serving institutions represent about 10 percent of all higher education institutions in the United States, and educate over 50 percent of Hispanic students. This bill provides Hispanic-serving institutions with comparable access to technical or financial assistance to implement preservation and training programs as institutions with high enrollments of other minority populations. In addition to Udall and Rubio, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.). U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) has introduced a similar bill in the House of Representatives.