Cuellar Talks Federal Budget with Local Higher Education Reps March 3, 2005

Cuellar Talks Federal Budget with Local Higher Education Reps


Administrators for Laredo Community College and Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) met with Congressman Henry Cuellar last week at TAMIU to discuss the impact of proposed federal budget cuts to local higher education.(Photo)

Dr. Ray Keck, TAMIU president, and Dr. Ramon Dovalina, LCC president, shared their concerns over proposed reductions that could undermine educational growth in the area.

"Our message is simple: reductions in funding will also reduce the number of students who are able to participate in higher education, be it TAMIU or LCC," Dr. Keck said.

Dr. Dovalina concurred.

"With federal cuts and proposed state cuts, we're seeing a double-whammy. We would all be forced to raise tuition. Those that will be hurt are our students," he explained.

Among key issues the group shared with Cuellar were the need to increase the amount of Pell Grants awarded so that it would cover current tuition and fees; not cutting federal work study programs and expanding the Perkins program which provides student assistance.

Cuellar, long a proponent of higher education, shared his perspective, noting that Washington politics are challenging.

"Of the 150 programs in this proposed budget, 1/3 or 49 of those eliminated are in education. I will continue to fight for higher education and bringing more federal monies to Laredo. I'm also encouraging both institutions to continue to aggressively explore federal granting opportunities," he said.

Cuellar was in town to present the keynote address at the Vision Conference held at TAMIU last week. During his visit, he toured the district's vulnerable education programs, including Upward Bound programs in Laredo, San Antonio and San Marcos.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu