UNCF on Biden-Harris Reconciliation Framework: Improvements Made, Looks Promising for HBCUs as Details Emerge

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Monique LeNoir UNCF Communications 202.810.0231 monique.lenoir@uncf.org

UNCF CEO calls on Congress to pass both infrastructure and reconciliation packages quickly


President Biden yesterday announced the framework for a $1.75 trillion reconciliation package with wide reaches into domestic policy. UNCF  commends the effort, announcing the improvements in the bill appear to do more to support historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) than previous iterations of the proposed legislation. In the framework is much-discussed funding to benefit HBCUs and their students, including:

  • $6 billion to Title III and Title V, with $2 billion guaranteed to HBCUs
    • Flexible legislative allowable uses, including construction and lab improvement
    • Institutions allowed the option to use funding to assist low-income students with cost of college
  • $3 billion of U.S. Department of Education research and development improvement (an increase over the $2 billion in the previous bill and UNCF’s language of “like institutions competing against like institutions” is included)
  • $1 billion for research and development available to HBCUs via the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • $550 increase to the maximum Pell Grant only for non-profit institutions (75% of HBCU students are Pell Grant-eligible)
  • Expanded access to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) students
  • Completion grants
  • Workforce training

“HBCUs are convinced that we have been heard by the Biden-Harris White House in this process,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “As legislative details unfold, we are increasingly encouraged and feel much more positive about our position in the Build Back Better agenda. On behalf of HBCUs and students coming from low-to-moderate income backgrounds everywhere, I call on Congress to pass both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and secure the final reconciliation product rapidly, around which our students and institutions can truly rally.”

“HBCU students, graduates and well-wishers should be enthused about the framework put forward by the president yesterday,” said Lodriguez V. Murray, senior vice president for public policy and government affairs, UNCF. “The improvements we see are the results of bare-knuckled advocacy that is beginning to bear results for the students and the institutions which are most in need. When we spoke to Vice President Kamala Harris Tuesday evening, Dr. Lomax relayed our concerns; and to see many of those issues addressed is relieving. HBCUs are in a much better position, and I hope our community never loses sight of the fact that we are using the terms ‘HBCU’ and ‘billions’ in the same sentence. That simply just was not happening even four years ago.”

“We have more work to do to make sure that the framework becomes the legislation that solves the ongoing infrastructure needs of our campuses,” Murray added. “Even when the infrastructure and reconciliation bills are signed into law, we must still ensure Congress fully embraces the IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act and tackles the full backlog of deferred maintenance on our campuses. The time for deferring—whether it be dreams or maintenance—has passed. Our institutions deserve this support so they can even improve their contributions to their communities and their state economies by educating the diverse workforce of the future that America needs to stay competitive globally.”


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, supports and 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% of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.