A new spending plan issued by President Joe Biden’s administration drastically reduced the proposed budget for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). According to the Associated Press, as the federal budget battle continues, the original goal of allocating $45 billion for HBCUs in the original $3.5 trillion proposal has now been cut to $2 billion.
The $2 billion would be used toward educational programs and infrastructure for Black colleges; however, the total would be reduced to competitive grant funding as opposed to direct allocations reported AP.
President Roderick L. Smothers of Philander Smith College, a small, private HBCU in Little Rock, Ark. shared how institutions such as his would have benefited from the larger amount, allowing them to expand their programs for the student body, 81% of which are low income.
Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, leader of the U.S. House education committee member of the Congressional Black Caucus said the draft of the bill includes $27 billion for student aid at HBCUs and other institutions providing higher education for minority populations.
We’d like to do as much as we can,” said Scott. “I’m not satisfied. I’m not satisfied with anything in the budget that’s within our jurisdiction.”
Harry L. Williams, president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, disagrees with grouping HBCUs with minority servicing colleges and universities.
“Black colleges have a unique history, needs, and financial challenges,” he said.
Historically Black colleges and universities should be separated as a protected class of institutions because, like the Black community, our experience in the United States of America is a unique experience,” added Kevin Cosby, president of Simmons College of Kentucky.
An Executive Order issued by the White House on Sept. 3, declared, “It is the policy of my Administration to advance educational equity, excellence, and economic opportunity in partnership with HBCUs, and to ensure that these vital institutions of higher learning have the resources and support to continue to thrive for generations to come.”