Udall, Heinrich, and Others Introduce Bill to Promote Historic Preservation Education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Udall, Heinrich, and Others Introduce Bill to Promote Historic Preservation Education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions


WASHINGTON – On Monday, March 23rd  U.S. Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Bob Menendez, D-N.J. and U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz. introduced a bipartisan bill to give colleges and universities with a high enrollment of Hispanic students access to a grant program that encourages students to engage in historical and cultural projects. The Preservation Research at Institutions Serving Minorities (PRISM) Act would amend the National Historic Preservation Act by expanding eligibility to include Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) for a grant to establish preservation training and degree programs.

The grant program is similar to a program already available to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and non-tribal colleges with a high enrollment of Native Americans or Native Hawaiians. The bill does not require any new spending, but would ensure that Hispanic-Serving Institutions be considered for the same program that is currently open to other Minority-Serving Institutions. 

New Mexico is home to 18 Hispanic-Serving Institutions, including the regions Northern New Mexico University in Española and El Rito. Other New Mexico institutions that would qualify under the PRISM Act are Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute; Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque; Clovis Community College; Eastern New Mexico University in Portales and Roswell; Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari; New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas; New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro; New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs; New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Grants; The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and Los Lunas; University of the Southwest in Hobbs; and Western New Mexico University in Silver City.”New Mexico’s cultural history is deeply rooted in our Hispanic heritage, dating back over centuries, and this program will open up a new opportunity for all students to deepen their understanding of Hispanic history and culture,” Udall said. “Hispanic-Serving Institutions play an essential role in American higher education, and my bill will help ensure that students in New Mexico and throughout the country have the same chance to delve into education and training programs to help preserve their heritage as students at other Minority-Serving Institutions.”

“Hispanic-serving institutions across New Mexico serve a tremendous role in our communities. They help prepare students for the future and give them to tools they need to tackle the challenges of today’s global economy.” Heinrich said. “This bill will ensure our Hispanic-serving institutions have the resources to educate our students, train our workforce, and develop the next generation of Hispanic leaders with an emphasis on cultural understanding and preservation.”

Hispanic-Serving Institutions are defined as not-for-profit institutions of higher learning where total Hispanic full-time undergraduate enrollment constitutes a minimum of 25 percent of total full-time undergraduate enrollment. More than 400 HSIs throughout the country could benefit from expanded eligibility for the preservation research grant program. HSIs make up about 12 percent of all higher education institutions in the U.S., though they educate more than half of all Hispanic students. The sponsors claim that the PRISM Act provides HSIs with comparable access to technical or financial assistance to implement preservation training and degree programs as institutions with high enrollments of other minority populations.