UNCF Praises President Biden’s State of the Union Address

Media Contact

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

President calls for increase to existing funding for HBCUs

In Tuesday’s State of the Union message, President Biden will call on Congress to increase funding for Pell Grants for students and funding specifically for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The Biden administration will push for a $2,000 increase to the maximum for a Pell Grant, which is the nation’s effort to assist students coming from lower socio-economic backgrounds to fund their higher education pursuits.

Increasing HBCU funding is a priority on which the Biden-Harris White House and UNCF have long collaborated.

“This is a continuation of our shared goals,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. “We have worked with this White House, even before they moved in, to formulate these asks. I applaud the president for including both HBCUs and a Pell Grant increase in his State of the Union address, and I hope both items will be championed by both sides of the aisle.”

“This is historic,” said Lodriguez V. Murray, senior vice president for public policy and government affairs at UNCF. “For the president of the United States to not only mention HBCUs in his State of the Union address, but to call for increased funding along with joining our effort to increase, and hopefully soon double the Pell Grant, is something we cannot help but be excited about.

“It is rare in Washington for a leader to stand by priorities. It is rarer for HBCUs to be that priority. President Biden is really showing that he stands with students from vulnerable backgrounds and the institutions that best serve their needs, and those are HBCUs.  UNCF hopes Congress will pass the FY 2022 appropriations bills at the highest levels for HBCUs and the Pell Grant, and then let’s do even better in FY 2023.”

See UNCF’s latest letter to congressional leaders on the unfinished FY 2022 appropriation process, with particular attention on HBCU funding here.  These bills must be passed by Congress on or before March 11, 2022.

Here is a history of the funding categories that the president is asking to be increased in the 2022 State of the Union address.



 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.