||May 16, 2014
|| David Mance, Media Relations Coordinator, 509-969-6084 or email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Heritage University President Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee to Strengthen Minority Serving Institutions
Toppenish, WA —Heritage University President Dr. John Bassett testified before a senate committee in our Nation’s capital this week, to strengthen support for minority serving institutions, including Heritage. Dr. Bassett and four other educational leaders from around the country spoke before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions (HELP) hearing titled “Strengthening Minority Serving Institutions: Best Practices and Innovations for Student Success.”
Senator Patty Murray (WA) introduced Dr. Bassett to her colleagues on the committee. Sen. Murray acknowledged Heritage University’s efforts to prepare its students for academic and workplace success, and creating a skilled workforce which is crucial to economic vitality.
“The U.S. once led the world in having the highest percentage of college graduates, today we rank 12th. If we want to remain globally competitive and expand our college access and completion rates, we should support the education goals of the underrepresented minorities, (which are) the fastest growing U.S. demographic, and we should partner with minority serving institutions like Heritage University,” said Senator Patty Murray.
President Bassett shared Heritage’s mission to provide high quality education to the Yakima Valley, which historically has a low level of education attainment, but also has young people with high levels of intelligence and potential. He also spoke about the changes made at Heritage during his four years here, which include increasing the intentional advising and tutoring of all students; encouraging students to identify an area of study sooner as students who have not identified a goal are more likely to drop out; changing the financial aid practices to a more equitable formula so that more students can go to college; and raising expectations of students who have historically been held down.
“We want to create a culture of higher expectations, the worst thing we can do is to lower the bar for students. These young people have amazing potential; yes they’ve been educationally disadvantaged, but they have wonderful potential,” he said.
Dr. Bassett also shared a few of Heritage’s success stories, including the teacher preparation program (HU105) honored at the state and federal level; students who have escaped a culture of poverty and gangs, earned their degrees, and later found jobs such as marketing and managerial positions with major companies.
The hearing, which took place on May 13, was a chance for the HELP Committee to discuss the unique challenges facing minority serving institutions, and to hear from education leaders like Dr. Bassett, in order to learn more about programs that support and help facilitate student success. It’s the ninth hearing convened in advance of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
To set up an interview with Dr. John Bassett about his testimony, contact David Mance, Media Relations Coordinator, (509) 969-6084 or firstname.lastname@example.org.