Representatives David Price, Susan Davis, and Andy Levin Introduce Bill to Increase Foreign Language Skills, Boost American International Competitiveness

May 7, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.  (May 7, 2019) – On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, Congressman David Price (D-NC), Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA), and Congressman Andy Levin (D-MI), introduced the Advancing International and Foreign Language Education Act, which would support foreign language and international education programs at colleges and universities.  These programs educate and equip students and professionals with vital skills to successfully engage with diverse cultures at home and around the globe.

The bill would increase and expand existing foreign language and area studies programs across the country; build international education capacity at minority-serving institutions; and promote opportunities for students and professionals to increase their knowledge of world regions, international business, and over 200 foreign languages at all levels of higher education. 

“In today’s global environment, the United States cannot afford to sit on the sidelines while other countries surpass our capabilities in language and cultural awareness,” said Congressman David Price. “The failure to make these necessary investments directly undermines our ability to compete in business, foreign policy, and national security.  I’m proud to reintroduce the Advancing International and Foreign Language Education to modernize Title VI of the Higher Education Act and better prepare our students and future leaders to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world.”

“The importance of investments in international education experiences cannot be overstated," said Congresswoman Susan Davis. "Without these critical investments, our students will be put at a significant disadvantage in the competitive global market."


“In today’s global sciety and economy, the benefits of international education and proficiency in multiple languages cannot be overstated,” Congressman Levin said. “In fact, the professional opportunities alone that are available to speakers of multiple languages and those with deep understandings of other cultures demand that foreign language be a high priority in education. The Advancing International and Foreign Language Education Act will help keep our higher education institutions competitive and develop a critical sense of cultural awareness in our students that will serve them for their entire lives.”

"The Coalition for International Education heartily supports the Advancing International and Foreign Language Education Act as a significant step forward for HEA-Title VI and for U.S. international education overall,” said Miriam Kazanjian of the Coalition for International Education. “The bill addresses our nation’s human resource needs for successful global engagement, security, and economic competitiveness in the more complex world of the 21st century.”  

The Advancing International and Foreign Language Education Act would:

  • Fund Title VI programs at $125 million in FY20 and index to inflation for each successive fiscal year;
  • Extend authorization of six currently funded programs: National Resource Centers; Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships; Language Resource Centers; Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Programs; American Overseas Research Centers; and Centers for International Business Education and Research;
  • Modernize and align five existing programs into two new programs that address the 21st century needs for educational opportunities that promote language, cultural, and business competencies for students, teachers, and employers; and
  • Codify Obama Administration grant process that allows the Secretary of Education to give priority to qualified minority-serving institutions or institutions of higher education that apply for grants and propose significant and sustained collaboration with a minority-serving institution.

A one-page summary can be found here, and the bill text can be found here.