UNCF Supports Passage of the HEROES Act

Over $1.7 Billion Provided for HBCUs and Other Minority-Serving Institutions


Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. This bill was introduced to provide resources and statutory flexibilities to institutions of higher education and students to combat the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Due to UNCF advocacy, H.R. 6800 includes the following highlights that positively impact our Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their students:

  • $1,708,000,000 in funding for HBCUs and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs);
  • A variation of the funding distribution formula, as proposed by the larger HBCU community, for HBCUs;
  • The ability of the Secretary of Education to create flexibilities around the allowable uses for institutions participating in the Minority Science Engineering and Improvement Program to use their grant award amounts to respond to the needs presented by COVID-19; 
  • The removal of the $62 million cap in the HBCU Capital Financing Loan Program, which frees up additional resources for HBCUs to respond adequately to COVID-19;
  • The reinstatement of the special rule relating to the allotment limitations in Part B of Title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA);
  • The ability of non-profit organizations with greater than 500 employees to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program; and
  • The ability of institutions of higher education to benefit from the Main Street Lending program.

“The passage of the HEROES Act is Congress’ attempt at a fourth stimulus package for our economy and is largely a win for our nation’s HBCUs and their students,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. “Not only does this bill provide over $1.7 billion for HBCUs and other MSIs, it strengthens the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act by creating even more flexibility and access to resources for our HBCUs. Now that the House has passed the HEROES Act, it is up to the Senate to build on this foundation. We will continue to work with Congress to perfect the HEROES Act and ensure that the overall package that is signed into law is the absolute best deal for our nation’s HBCUs and their students.”

In advocating for what the HEROES Act should include, UNCF led efforts by the larger MSI community to send a clear message to Congress of our needs, and this letter can be found here. Text of the HEROES Act, as passed by the House 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 UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
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