Black Education / Schools : Funding for HBUC 2-4-2010

Discussion in 'Black Education / Schools' started by LindaChavis, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. LindaChavis

    LindaChavis Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Obama Administration to Increase HBCU Funding
    Date: Monday, February 01, 2010, 5:45 am
    By: Frederick Cosby, Special to

    President Barack Obama will call for a $98 million boost in federal spending for historically black colleges and universities Monday when the White House unveils its fiscal year 2011 budget.

    Administration officials are hoping the funding will stave off criticism from black college presidents and alumni, who complained last year the administration’s decision not to pursue renewing a George W. Bush-era HBCU funding program actually resulted in a budget cut to the cash-strapped schools.

    Education Secretary Arne Duncan, appearing Sunday on TV One’s “Washington Watch with Roland Martin,” announced Obama’s intention ahead of the White House’s official rollout of its estimated $3.8 trillion budget proposal.

    “We have great news, that, going forward, we’re proposing in the budget an increase of $98 million annually for HBCUs, so that’s a tremendous commitment,” Duncan said in response to a question from Martin. “I said from Day One we desperately need HBCUs not just to survive, but to thrive.”

    In addition, Duncan said the administration is seeking increases in Pell grants – with an eye towards doubling Pell opportunities for HBCU students - Perkins Loans and tuition tax credits.

    But Duncan’s comments produced more questions than answers for some black college officials. Without seeing the full funding proposal, the officials said they don’t know whether the $98 million would be in the form of direct aid – giving colleges discretion on how the money is spent - or whether it would be designated for specific purposes like campus maintenance or construction.

    United Negro College Fund officials declined Sunday to comment on Obama’s proposal until they’ve reviewed it and the rest of federal budget requests.

    The black higher education community has been pushing the administration since last year to give more federal dollars to their schools. UNCF President Michael Lomax reinforced the message after Obama’s State of the Union address last week.

    “In particular, we urge the president to redouble his efforts to support the nation’s historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions,” Lomax said in a written statement. “These institutions are playing a lead role in giving minority and low-income students the college education they need to find good jobs and begin their careers. The administration must do more to engage and drive targeted resources to these engines of job creation and economic growth.”

    Last summer, leaders from 105 HBCUs quietly complained that Obama allowed deep cuts at their institutions at a time when many of them are struggling to avert foreclosures, staff reductions, reduced course offerings and a drying up of student financial aid.

    The National Association for Equal Opportunity, which represents the nation’s HBCUs, wrote a letter to Obama last June expressing its disappointment that a two-year, $170 million allocation for black colleges approved by Congress in 2007 was not extended by the Obama White House.

    “The elimination of $85 million in mandatory institutional aid to HBCUs, even the with the minimal increase you propose to the HBCU formula funding, would have adverse consequences for our institutions and run counter to your agenda, that we wholly embrace, of expanding educational access, affordability and accountability, association President Lezli Baskerville wrote to Obama.

    Administration officials defended their actions amid a torrent of complaints and Internet howls from black college alums, black bloggers and black political Web sites. One White House official, in an email last year to, noted that “discretionary funding programs for HBCUs, both undergrad and graduate, received 5 percent more than twice the rate of inflation. The budget doubled subsidy in the HBCU capital financing program and will more than double the total loan volume.”

    On Martin’s “Washington Watch,” Duncan said the administration is aware of the valuable contributions of black higher ....