HBCUs Worried as Potential Funding From Government Drops by Billions

In Summary

There was a significant drop in funding for HBCUs in the newest economic package, which initially planned to give $45 billion in funding. 

The nation’s HBCUs rejoiced when President Joe Biden said he would commit $45 billion in funding to the institutions, but that is no longer the case.  

According to the Associated Press, the funding took a significant drop as lawmakers debated about the size of the economic package. The latest version of the bill only includes about $2 billion for educational programs and infrastructure for the institutions, but even that number is expected to drop.  

RELATED: AKA Sorority Announced Record-Breaking Fundraising for HBCUs 

This news is especially troubling for small private HBCUs whose endowments are significantly smaller than those of well-known schools like Howard, Spellman and Moorehouse.  

The difference in funding between the larger institutions and smaller colleges is prominent. According to an analysis by the Associated Press, there are disparities among the 102 institutions. Data revealed in the 2018 – 2019 school year, 11 HBCUs had endowments of less than $1,000 per student, while nine had endowments of more than $50,000 per student.  

RELATEDAn HBCU in South Florida is in Danger of Closing  

As a whole, HBCUs receive less funding than other institutions. In 2019, the total endowment for all HBCUs was $3.9 billion, which is the same total for the University of Minnesota alone.  

Dr. George French Jr., the president of Clark Atlanta University, and Lodriguez Murray, the senior vice president of the United Negro College Fund, joined BNC to discuss the importance of funding for HBCUs.  

RELATED: HBCUs Receive CARES Act Funding, Erase Debt for Students 

French Jr. says infrastructure is very important for HBCUs. “We’re looking at institutions that have been in existence for 150, 160 years. My institution since 1865,” he said. “So we have serious infrastructure needs first, and then we are looking at research and development needs for the STEM disciplines, so we might help our country.”  

Murray said the federal government plays a large role in the funding. “This is the time that if you’re going to build back better, you have to build back and you have to build up institutions that have always been underfunded and disadvantaged,” he said. “Those are historically Black colleges and universities and they actually don’t look like many of the other types of institutions that stand to gain under this bill.” 

RELATED: Netflix Funds $5.4 Million Howard Scholarship to Honor Chadwick Boseman  

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here.  

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