With an HBCU graduate in the second highest office in the country, there is hope that the new administration’s personal connection to historically Black colleges and universities will lead to increased opportunities for funding and advancement. Challenging the Biden-Harris Administration to “build Black better,” a new report highlights areas of impact for HBCUs in the Biden-Harris education agenda.
The Center for the Study of HBCUs at Virginia Dominion University identified six key priorities from the administration’s first 100 days plan that will lead to positive changes for the nation’s 101 HBCUs. Subjected to inequities in funding and resources since their creation, HBCUs have continuously built opportunities for Black students.
Titled “A Pledge of Allegiance to Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Key Priorities of the Biden/Harris Administration,” the report outlined six areas that would have the greatest impact on HBCUs:
- The plan proposed by the Center for the Study of HBCUs would increase the federal Pell Grant award, potentially doubling the maximum award. It also suggests an increase would cover full in-state tuition at 67 percent of HBCUs. The current maximum Pell Grant award is $6,345.
- Establishing a federal Title I program for postsecondary education that would employ a funding formula similar to that used for K-12 education to provide additional support for programs to increase retention, student support services, and student employment.
- As a part of the commitment to increasing equity across the administration, prioritizing and increasing funding streams for federal agency grants to HBCUs creates new opportunities.
- Providing financial support to address distressed building infrastructure, facility upgrades, and developing new infrastructure not only will upgrade physical campuses but provide more opportunities and space for students, faculty, and alumni.
- Eliminating, or at least reducing, educational debt and expanding support for graduate education in STEM related fields, teaching, and healthcare provides students more opportunities.
- Increased funding for Title III and Title V can provide more opportunities for student and institutional support services.
“These 101 national treasures punch above their weight, in terms of providing access to first-generation, low-income, and vulnerable populations, as well as cultural advancement, economic development, and student success,” said Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, Provost & Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs at Virginia Union University and director of the center, in a press release. “HBCUs are powerful economic and cultural engines in American society, and the center’s research focus was designed to ensure their sustainability.”
Anoa Changa is a movement journalist and retired attorney based in Atlanta, Georgia. Follow Anoa on Instagram and Twitter @thewaywithanoa.
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