1890 Universities Foundation in theGrio
From theGrio …
Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are severely underfunded and lacking in resources compared to their white counterparts. HBCUs find themselves in a paradox as they experience historic increases in enrollment, yet as their predominantly white counterparts enjoy multibillion-dollar endowments and vast resources — billions of dollars in some cases — HBCUs are financially depleted and under-resourced with only millions.
A prime example of HBCU underfunding is among the nation’s land-grant institutions, which Congress established with the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. The federal government allocated federal land to the states to fund and endow land-grant colleges.
Looking at the reason for the resource disparity between predominantly white institutions (PWIs) and the 19 HBCUs that are land-grant institutions, it all comes down to a racial funding gap. Some would call it theft, as in the theft of billions of dollars in federal and state government money to Black institutions. This is systemic racism 150 years in the making — complete with receipts. And this is why so many land-grant HBCUs are struggling. But the federal farm bill could change all that.
This funding gap has real implications for HBCUs as they seek to rise in the ranks among research universities, top-tier institutions that require large endowments and Ph.D. faculties, notes Dr. Mortimer H. Neufville, CEO and president of the 1890 Universities Foundation. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supports education, outreach and academics for the 1890 land-grant universities. “We are the best kept secret in the states. They need to know and should know,” Neufville said of the land-grant HBCUs. “We’ve always been asked to do more with little. That continues today. We’ve always been asked to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. But first, we need the boots.”