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Rep. Chu's Amendment to Help Students Earn Math, Science and Engineering Degrees Passes House

May 13, 2010
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, the House of Representatives approved an amendment offered by Rep. Chu to the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act that will  help  science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students, particularly women and underrepresented minorities, transition from 2-year to 4-year institutions.  It will ensure that all students, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status are afforded every opportunity to enter STEM careers.

(Click to see video of Rep. Chu's floor speech on her amendment)

"As a former professor at East Los Angeles Community College, I am all too familiar with the hurdles these students face in working toward any bachelor's degree, much less those in the natural sciences or engineering," said Rep. Chu. "By 2050 racial and ethnic minorities will make up over half of the college age population. If we don't help them enter the most technologically competitive fields, we face a future in which America is no longer at the forefront of innovation. My amendment will make sure every student, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status, has the skills they need to be competitive today and to ensure America will stay competitive tomorrow."

Through the Innovation Through Institutional Integration program, the National Science Foundation can leverage existing investments to support collaborations between 2-year and 4-year colleges in tackling the challenges to students' successful transitions between institutions. These connections are particularly important because many groups underrepresented in STEM fields are concentrated in 2-year institutions. Forty-four percent of all STEM bachelor's degree holders attend community college at some point in their career.
About the America COMPETES Act:

The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act (H.R. 5116) supports basic research, improves STEM education, and fosters innovation.  In addition to funding basic research at the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, H.R. 5116 improves science and math education by reauthorizing programs that give teachers a deep understanding of their content so they can help their students understand the real world applications of what they are learning.  The bill also addresses coordination of STEM activities across the federal government, and improves STEM education at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral levels.