HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — To address educational challenges faced by Hispanics, a bill has been introduced in Congress to facilitate more resources to those areas’ educational institutions.

H.R. 7454, also known as the “Hispanic Educational Resources and Empowerment Act of 2022” was introduced into Congress on April 7 by Representative Joaquin Castro (TX-20). There are 19 Democratic co-sponsors of the bill, including Representative Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15).

The bill’s text states that Hispanics face disparities compared to other groups of people when it comes to educational achievements based on “lower grades, lower scores on standardized tests, and higher dropout rates.”

These issues are intensified and will continue to grow as Hispanics represent the “largest, youngest, and second-fastest growing minority population in the United States” and make up 26 percent of the nation’s prekindergarten through grade 12 school population, according to the bill’s text.

Despite being the nation’s largest minority group, the text affirms that Hispanics “lag behind non-Hispanic Whites, Blacks, and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islanders in educational attainment of high school diplomas, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees.”

Weekly earning averages for people with only high school degrees are hundreds of dollars lower compared to people with associate’s or bachelor’s degrees, according to the bill. With an estimated 6.9 million Hispanics expected to join the workforce in this decade, these disparities could significantly impact Latinos in a negative way.

In an effort to bridge this educational gap, H.R. 7454 aims to amend the “Higher Education Act of 1965” by enhancing course offerings, program quality, and overall functionality of educational institutions that serve a large number of Hispanics.

In order to qualify, an educational institution must have at least 25 percent of its student body made up of Hispanics or be an “emerging Hispanic-serving institution” with at least 15 percent of its population made up of Hispanics.

Schools deemed eligible will be able to submit grants for funding that can be used for creating a “college-bound culture,” preparing students for postsecondary education, and aligning coursework and graduation requirements matching entrance guidelines for colleges and universities.

The bill’s text also calls for the development or improvement of career and technical education, work-based learning, and advanced coursework.

Each educational entity that applies for the grants under this bill will be required to report on how they will use the funding and affirm they are using the funds appropriately.

The bill will have to pass through a vote in the House of Representatives and Senate and be signed by the President before going into law.

To read the bill’s full text, visit here.