UNCF Supports House HEROES, Suggested Additions to Address Twin Pandemics
Hopes Bipartisan Negotiations Produce Results for HBCUs
As both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue negotiate what is hoped to be a second stimulus to combat the effects of the novel coronavirus, UNCF supports the renewed House effort. Building from the bipartisan work of the CARES Act (passed in March 2020), the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or HEROES Act supports higher education—especially HBCUs—and the first generation and low-to-moderate income students that UNCF represents. While the legislation is a strong effort worthy of the UNCF backing, there are additions that could make the bill much stronger for the institutions and students.
“I commend Speaker Pelosi and those working with her for putting together an opening salvo of stimulus,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “Our institutions, like all of those in higher education, are very much in need. Additionally, the students we represent have been even more impacted by the twin pandemics we are experiencing, both COVID-19 and longstanding systemic racism. This legislation is a chance for Congress, through the power of the purse, to acknowledge the disproportionate suffering African Americans bear. I urge bipartisan negotiators to produce an even stronger bill than the current HEROES Act and then I look forward to the President’s signature.”
“Our institutions are pleased with the robust dedicated funding source for HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and MSIs, but there is still room for more to help show that Congress feels the pains of our community,” said Lodriguez Murray, senior vice president of public policy and government affairs, UNCF. “If bipartisan negotiators are sensitive to the ills facing the African American student population, they would replace the bill’s current provisions for the Department of Education’s HBCU Capital Finance Program with permanent relief for all HBCUs that have loans from the agency. The funds that HBCUs pay to that program would then be freed, in perpetuity, to be invested into the students, scholarships and their curriculum. The passing of this bill would be a recognition that Congress and the Administration value HBCUs, the accomplishments of the institutions and their graduates, and are willing to give them financial freedom to further achieve.”
UNCF-supported provisions, included in the current HEROES Act, include:
- $225 billion, overall, for education (K-12 and above)
- $27 billion for higher education
- $11.9 billion to higher education to help alleviate burdens associated with the coronavirus for both colleges and students, including:
- $3.5 billion for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and MSIs
- $7 billion for private, not-for-profit institutions
- $1.4 billion for other institutions of higher education with unmet need related to coronavirus, including institutions of higher education that offers programs exclusively through distance education
- $4 billion for governors to disperse
The proposed breakdown of the MSI exclusive portion mentioned above would be:
|Masters Degrees at HBCUs||1.3%||$45,500,000|
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% 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.