Mr. President, I have been a major supporter of yours from the start because I believed you were the best person for the job, because I never dreamed in my lifetime that this would happen. You’ve been doing an amazing job, considering that you took over the country at a time when so much is happening. But I do have a concern about one of your recent decisions. I’m calling on you to listen to the tens of thousands of alumni, faculty, administration and students of Historically Black Colleges and Universities who want you to seriously reconsider your changes to the 2010 federal budget. We want you to extend the $85 million that was included in the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 and is slated to expire this year.
I realize you’re dealing with a budget that’s in the trillions of dollars, but let me tell you, as a long-time supporter and cheerleader for black colleges, literally every single dollar helps to keep the doors open at these institutions. This $85 million is absolutely crucial for many of the colleges to make sure every student attending these schools have the best infrastructure possible. That means these schools need the direct funds that the federal government has allocated since 2007 to help provide comfortable dormitories, fully furnished classrooms, research labs, libraries and so many things that contribute to these students getting a quality education. The fact is the funding for many HBCUs eligible to receive federal funds has not kept pace with the increasing needs for the institutions.
I’ve been reading about how you and Secretary Arne Duncan are increasing the amount of money for Pell Grants, which means more students may be able to get sorely needed dollars to attend college. That’s what my foundation has been doing for the past 11 years, and the more help these students get to stay in school, the better.