HBCUs Receive CARES Act Funding, Erase Debt for Students

In Summary

The CARES Act has allocated $1 billion in emergency funds to HBCUs across the nation.  

As part of the CARES Act and the Biden administration keeping good on campaign promises to support HBCUs, approximately $1 billion in emergency aid has been allocated to these institutions. 

20 HBCUs have been able to clear student debt for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic using funds from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. 

According to local CBS affiliate KSLA, the chancellor of Southern University Shreveport, Dr. Rodney Ellis, announced that student debt for those in attendance from spring 2020 to spring 2021 is cancelled. 

“We felt the pain in our economy, in our personal life, and when there is good news to share, we want to try to do as much as possible to advise you of those things,” Ellis stated. 

Related: Nick Cannon Wipe ‘N Out Thousands of Dollars in Debt for 7 HBCU Grads

In a report from The Undefeated, more than 20 HBCUs used funds from the CARES Act to erase account balances for their students. 

Dillard University cleared $485,423.36 in balances affecting 259 students. Several other HBCUs were able to make this investment, including Grambling State University, Florida A&M, Southern University Shreveport and Clark Atlanta University. 

“It mitigated some of the negative impact of the pandemic,” said Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University. “It wasn’t just the disproportionate health impact. There was also a disproportionate financial impact on Black and Brown families.” 

According to Kimbrough, there was a disproportionate financial impact on Black and Brown families with two-thirds of HBCU students being Pell Grant-eligible. 

Wall Street Journal article points out there are more than 800 colleges and universities considered “minority-serving” because of their history, control or student body. 

Also, the article mentions politicians who have spoken out in support of HBCUs. A key member of the collegiate diaspora is Vice President Kamala Harris, who is an alumna of Howard University and is very vocal in her support of these institutions.  

Related: Vice President Kamala Harris to Champion for STEM During Hampton Visit

The article references a roundtable discussion with Hampton University students that Harris attended. “It’s in the best interest of our nation, including our national security, to invest in our HBCUs,” Harris stated at the discussion. 

Harris went on to describe the body of research that has been conducted by HBCUs over the years throughout the nation. 

“Historically our HBCUs have done extraordinary research work, but over the years some of the facilities have experienced wear and tear and we need to invest in allowing … our HBCUs to upgrade,” Harris said. 

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