Significant Increases for HBCUs and Low-Income, First-Generation College Students Hailed in FY2020 Funding Package

Media Contact

Monique LeNoir UNCF Communications 202.810.0231

UNCF  today praised the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate membership who crafted the fiscal year 2020 (FY2020) spending package funding the federal government, H.R. 1865.  The annual measure to fund the Department of Education, among other areas of the government, contains substantial increases for UNCF’s priorities—which focus squarely on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and low-income students.

“We have literally fought all year long for HBCUs and the kind of need-based funding beneficial for students from underserved backgrounds,” said UNCF president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax. “This tireless bipartisan work of bringing both parties to together made the case for our storied HBCUs and students. Truly, both the institutions and the students deserve a seat at the table.  Congress has to pass their funding bills each year, and we want to ensure that those who most need the federal investment receive it.  I commend every single Member of the House and Senate who helped us secure the funding increases, and I call for both chambers to pass this bill without delay.”

H.R. 1865 includes the following increases in funding for HBCUs and low-income, first generation college students:

  • Strengthening HBCUs: $324,792,000 ($42,372,000 above FY2019 enacted level), the highest level of funding received by this program, which is the #1 ask of the HBCU community;
  • HBCU Professional and Graduate Institutions: $83,995,000 ($10,958,000 above FY2019 enacted level);
  • HBCU Capital Financing Program: $46,484,000, with $16,000,000 of the total to specifically defer private loans and $10,000,000 of the total to specifically defer public loans ($6,000,000 above FY2019 enacted level);
  • Federal Pell Grants: the maximum grant will be $6,345 for the 2020-21 academic year ($150 per student above FY2019 enacted level);
  • Masters Degree Programs at HBCUs: $9,956,000 ($1,299,000 above FY2019 enacted level);
  • Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program: $12,635,000 ($1,500,000 above FY2019 enacted level);
  • Federal TRIO programs: $1,090,000,000 ($30,000,000 above FY2019 enacted level);
  • GEAR UP: $365,000,000 ($5,000 above FY2019 enacted level);
  • NIH’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD): $335,813,000 ($21,133,000 above FY2019 enacted level); and
  • DoD HBCU / MI Program: $52,708,000 (12,296,000 above FY2019 enacted level).

“We are elated with this outcome,” commented Lodriguez Murray, UNCF’s senior vice president for public policy and government affairs. “We have had countless meetings with Members of Congress, and hosted our first ever ‘State of the HBCU’ event where we publicly rolled out our federal agenda for HBCUs and underserved students overall.  Additionally, Members of Congress who helped garner increases in programs benefiting HBCUs will be named on our March 2020 HBCU Honor Roll, our way of thanking those who stand up for HBCU students.”

“This is a continuation of the positive outcomes that we have seen in recent years for HBCUs.  When you add FY 18 and 19 increases together, those years total an $109 million increase over FY17,” Murray continued.  “The increases in this bill are $95.56 million over FY19.  This is the work of congressional leaders who prioritize us and the approach we take to the work. Yet, there is still room to do better by our institutions and students, both of whom have had to manage without proper resources for far too long.”


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 or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter @UNCF.