UNCF Applauds Congressional Appropriations Outcome

The bill provides increased funding and flexibility for HBCUs and low-income, first-generation college students

Today, the United States House of Representatives passed the Conference Report to H.R. 6157, the Departments of Defense and Labor; Health and Human Services; and Education Appropriations Act of 2019. This bill also included a continuing resolution to keep the government funded until December 7, 2018. 

“We are thrilled with this appropriations outcome, which is the second consecutive year we have seen significant increases to the programs we prioritize,” said UNCF president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax. “We have worked tirelessly with this Congress and Administration to emphasize the needs of the historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and the low income, first generation college students we serve.  The federal support our institutions and students receive is integral to ensuring each student’s fair opportunity to achieve his or her dreams to get to and through college.”

H.R. 6157 includes the following increases in funding for HBCUs and low-income, first generation college students: 

  • Strengthening HBCUs: $282,420,000 ($2,796,000 above FY2018 enacted level);
  • HBCU Professional and Graduate Institutions: $73,037,000 ($723,000 above FY2018 enacted level);
  • HBCU Capital Financing Program: $40,484,000, with $20,000,000 specifically to defer loans ($10,000,000 above FY2018 enacted level);
  • Federal Pell Grants: $5,135 in discretionary funding and $6,195 for the total annual award. ($100 per student above FY2018 enacted level);
  • Masters Degree Programs at HBCUs: $8,657,000 ($86,000 above FY2018 enacted level);
  • Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program: $11,135,000 ($110,000 above FY2018 enacted level);
  • Federal TRIO programs: $1.06 billion ($50,000,000 above FY2018 enacted level);
  • GEAR UP: $360 million ($10,000 above FY2018 enacted level); and
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness: $350 million set aside for students to award student loan forgiveness and $2.3 million set aside for outreach efforts. 

“A huge win for the HBCU community was the willingness of the legislators to listen to our needs and act swiftly to address them,” said Lodriguez Murray, UNCF’s vice president for public policy and government affairs.  “We were devastated when we learned that some of our member institutions were unable to make their payments to the HBCU Capital Financing program. Quickly after learning of this, we began to think through remedies and immediately pursued policy makers with a solution to resolve this issue. We are pleased to announce that with the new total of $20 million allocated to the HBCU Capital Financing program specifically for deferments, all HBCUs who are eligible for a deferment of their capital financing loan will be able to take advantage of that opportunity.”

“UNCF has led the way with ensuring that the needs of our HBCUs are met, especially with regards to the HBCU Capital Financing program,” continued Murray. “With our help, Congress has approved the ability of 13 total HBCUs to defer their loans on a bipartisan basis and this deferment will give flexibility to our institutions to regain their financial footing. While we are delighted that a bipartisan group of lawmakers have supported this initiative, I would be remiss if I did not personally thank Senators Doug Jones (D-AL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Boozman (R-AR), Mark R. Warner (D-VA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Representatives Terri A. Sewell (D-AL), French Hill (R-AR); James Clyburn (D-SC), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Donald McEachin (D-VA), David Price (D-NC), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Michael Turner (R-OH), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), and Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN); and, specifically, Representatives Alma Adams (D-NC) and Ted Budd (R-NC), who have been our champions from the beginning.”

The following HBCUs that will benefit from the congressionally approved deferment are: Benedict College, Bennett College, Florida Memorial University, Huston-Tillotson University, Philander Smith College, Saint Augustine’s University, Shaw University, Stillman College, Virginia Union University, Voorhees College, Wilberforce University, Wiley College, and Arkansas Baptist College.

 

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About UNCF
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than $100 million via almost 400 programs annually, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in.”® Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities. Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter @UNCF.