1890s Council Chair in WashPost on White House & Congressional Support for HBCUs
Chair Abdullah on more federal support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including 1890 institutions
From the Washington Post, 9.10.21 …
When Congress reached a compromise on the infrastructure bill this summer, historically Black college and university advocates were struck by the absence of President Biden’s proposals to support the schools.
Gone was any mention of money for research incubators, laboratory upgrades or repairing aging facilities produced by decades of state and federal underfunding. But the White House assured Black colleges that the ambitious agenda Biden set for their schools would be part of a larger legislative package.
As lawmakers released pieces of that package this week, HBCU advocates learned that much of the proposed investments in the sector were either jettisoned or scaled back. And what remains would require Black colleges with limited resources to compete with well-heeled institutions for grant funding.
Yet lawmakers dialed back funding for those schools designed to better serve students. Biden proposed a total of $55 billion for HBCUs and MSIs to upgrade research infrastructure and create up to 200 research incubators to bolster STEM education. House Democrats, however, are only setting aside $2 billion in grant funding that higher education leaders say would place many HBCUs at a disadvantage.
“This country has benefited so much from HBCUs. Increase the investment, so we can increase the return,” said Makola M. Abdullah, president of Virginia State University [and Chair of the Council of 1890 Universities] who signed the letter. "In order for us to be able to move forward...we need to make up for the decades of underfunding.”