UNCF Pleased with Department of Education’s Implementation of Coronavirus Relief for HBCUs

Media Contact

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

CARES Act Funding for HBCUs Helps institutions Combat COVID-19

Today, United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, after consulting with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) leadership, issued $576.9 million to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in response to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). This funding is in addition to the $351.69 million allocated earlier to HBCUs, bringing the total amount of funding from the CARES Act to $928.6 million with $175.85 million of that total going directly to students at HBCUs. After UNCF advocated tirelessly to convince decision makers to include a set-aside amount of funding for HBCUs, funding for these institutions were granted and passed by Congress in H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on March 27. 

“I thank Secretary DeVos, and definitely our congressional champions, because this funding was very necessary and will relieve so many concerns on our HBCU campuses that came about only due to this pandemic,” said Dr. Michael Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. “However, let me be clear that this funding, while extremely impactful, will not solve all of our problems. The HBCUs in our network are determined to make sure these resources help with immediate concerns as well as strengthen our institutions for the years ahead.”

“One of our member institutions approached us on March 12 to tell us that, without help, the institution would be in a deficit of $2 to $4 million because of the coronavirus pandemic alone,” said Lodriguez Murray, UNCF’s senior vice president for public policy and government affairs. “HBCUs operate closer to their margins, and because of looming threats, our institutions simply cannot close the year in the red because of the financial strain and duress of COVID-19. UNCF successfully made the case to Congress. They heard us. Now, the Department of Education is carrying out the CARES Act and we are grateful that the institutions, which serve 45% first-generation college students and 75% Pell eligible students, are getting the opportunity to receive additional resources to prepare the country’s future leaders even during this global crisis.”

“UNCF firmly believes that as we learn African Americans are bearing a disproportionate burden of coronavirus related disease and death, that Congress should make sure those same populations receive a proportional amount of resources,” Murray concluded. “Coronavirus is exposing our massive, long-ignored issues with racial and ethnic health disparities, lack of sufficient minority health professionals, economic unfairness and more. We can no longer ignore those issues and they too, should be addressed in future stimulus bills. Doing so only strengthens our economy and our democracy.”

Information regarding the funding allocations, and other needed information regarding implementation, for each HBCU from the CARES Act can be found here.


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. 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.”
® Learn more at UNCF.org, or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.