UNCF Grateful for HBCU Resources Secured in New Pandemic Relief Bill
New funding helps HBCUs prepare for in-person learning, decreases digital divide and assists with financial stability by accounting for lost revenue
Following a convoluted process, which included Senate passage on Saturday, the House of Representatives finalized the American Rescue Plan. H.R. 1319 was passed by a vote of 220 to 211, securing nearly $3 billion in set-aside funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). This funding, in addition to resources made available to all colleges and universities, will provide stability to the institutions that educate the larger percentages of economically underserved and first-generation college students.
“I want to thank both the House and Senate for delivering much needed assistance for HBCUs,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “The coronavirus pandemic as well as racial reckoning we all experienced in response to the death of George Floyd made us all so intimately familiar with why HBCUs need more resources during this critical time. Our students are more impacted and therefore our institutions are more impacted. Furthermore, our schools have been underfunded since inception, and we are thankful to procure the funding during one of the most unstable times in recent history. I call on President Biden to swiftly sign the legislation into law, as I know he will, and then I call on his Cabinet and administration to move with haste and accuracy to get these resources to our institutions.”
“The America Rescue Plan continues the positive trajectory of additional and much needed resources for HBCUs and our students most in need,” said Lodriguez V. Murray, senior vice president for public policy and government affairs, UNCF. “The disproportionate impact of coronavirus on African American families has allowed UNCF to make the case to Congress to secure more than $1 billion in March 2020, $1.7 billion in December 2020, and now nearly $3 billion today in resources dedicated solely to HBCUs, Tribal Colleges, and MSIs. Additionally, the December 2020 bill also forgave federal loans many HBCUs acquired to improve their campuses. Our hope is that every HBCU weathers this pandemic and emerges stronger.
“We thank Speaker Pelosi, Whip Clyburn, Bipartisan HBCU Caucus Chairwoman Adams, the Congressional Black Caucus including Chairwoman Beatty, Senator Warnock, Senator Ossoff, Senator Coons, Leader Schumer and others for ensuring the education of HBCU students remains an issue of paramount importance,” said Murray.
In addition to the $3 billion in set-aside funding for HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs, the additional American Rescue Plan education components include:
- $40 billion for institutions of higher education to help make up for lost revenue due to the pandemic. Requires institutions to dedicate at least half of their funding for emergency financial aid grants to students to help prevent hunger, homelessness and other hardships facing students as a result of the pandemic.
- Assures any future student loan forgiveness passed between December 2020 and January 2026 will not be taxable income.
- $7.1 billion to reimburse schools and libraries – central points for connectivity in many communities – to purchase equipment such as hotspots, internet service, and computers on behalf of students and patrons. This equipment is essential for students when in-person classes resume, and for hybrid and remote learning.
- Ensures schools and libraries can quickly access the critical funding by relying on the Federal Communications Commission and its E-rate program to administer the funds equitably.
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. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® For continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.