1890 Universities Urge Congress to Support HBCU IGNITE Infrastructure Bill in Budget Reconciliation
1890 Presidents, Chancellors and University Leaders continue pressing Congressional leaders to further support equitable funding, upgrades and improvements for HBCUs
The 19 Presidents, Chancellors and Leaders of the 1890 Universities recently called on Congress to include the Institutional Grants for New Infrastructure, Technology, and Education (IGNITE) for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Excellence Act sponsored by Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) and Rep. French Hill (R-AR) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC).
Last week, the House Education and Labor Committee marked-up its portion of the budget reconciliation bill. Reportedly, only some elements of the IGNITE bill were submitted in the larger budget reconciliation bill. As the Washington Post reports …
As lawmakers released pieces of that package [last] 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.
The House Education Committee crafted a sprawling bill that makes good on key tenets of Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending plan, including universal community college and universal preschool. The bill would cover two years of tuition for many students attending historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and other minority-serving institutions.
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.
Dr. Makola Abdullah, President of Virginia State University and Chair of the 1890 Council of Presidents and Dr. Paul Jones, President of Fort Valley State University and Vice Chair of the 1890 Council, along with presidents of the 1890 institutions, urged more support in this letter to Congress.
Said Dr. Abdullah …
On behalf of our 19 member institutions, we are strongly urging Congress to make HBCU infrastructure improvements a priority. Almost all HBCUs have significant deferred maintenance costs and want to upgrade and build new facilities to meet the needs of our students and communities. The HBCU IGNITE Act would address these challenges. I thank Congresswoman Adams and her colleagues for their efforts.
Dr. Jones added …
The need to upgrade buildings and research facilities on our HBCU campuses has been well-documented. I hope Congress will include the IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act in any infrastructure bill they pass. I want to thank Representatives Adams and Hill, as well as Senators Scott and Coons for their diligence and hard work in putting this HBCU infrastructure bill together. Congress must include this bill because failure is really not an option.