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April 27, 2022

Rep. Aguilar and Sen. Padilla Announce Bill Expanding EDA University Centers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Pete Aguilar and Senator Alex Padilla announced the University Centers for Growth, Development, and Prosperity (GDP) Act. The legislation codifies the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) University Center Economic Development Program, increases the number of University Centers and bolsters funding to between $500,000 to $1 million per University Center, up from roughly $125,000. University Centers are federal partnerships that leverage the assets of higher-learning institutions to strengthen regional economic growth by promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation.

“The University Center program has proven that our economy is stronger when universities, businesses and the federal government work hand in glove to boost regional economic growth,” Rep. Aguilar said. “Our legislation ensures that the economic benefits of regional cooperation reaches communities with the greatest need, including the Inland Empire.”

“Our higher education institutions play a critical role in our nation’s economic growth,” said Senator Padilla. “I’m proud to announce new legislation that will expand the University Center program to leverage more resources for Minority-Serving Institutions and support a greater diversity of innovation and entrepreneurship in their communities. California has thriving institutions, including Cal State Chico and Fresno, that will be able to scale their impact with new resources. By prioritizing the establishment of new University Centers at colleges and universities that serve significant populations of underserved students, we can strengthen regional economies and help close the racial wealth gap.”

The legislation ensures that University Centers prioritize the participation of Minority-Serving Institutions such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Tribal Colleges and Universities. The expansion will encourage economic development in economically distressed regions that are currently underserved by existing University Centers.

There are five University Centers regional offices located in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Denver, and Seattle.

Rep. Aguilar serves as the Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.