U.S. House Increases Funding for HBCUs and Low-Income, First-Generation College Students

UNCF Lauds Spending Bill

UNCF has commended the U.S. House Appropriations Committee’s education funding panel with the release of its bill. The annual measure to fund the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education for fiscal year (FY) 2020 is the first appropriations bill to move through the committee’s opening stages, and it contains substantial increases for UNCF’s priorities.

“While this is still the beginning of Congress’ work to fund the federal government for this upcoming year, this is a strong and positive step forward. I commend Subcommittee Chair Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT), Ranking Member Rep. Tom Cole (OK), and outstanding members of the Subcommittee like Rep. Barbara Lee (CA) and Rep. Watson Coleman (NJ),” said UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax. “We are working tirelessly in a bipartisan way to make the case for first-generation, low-income students and our storied HBCUs. UNCF wants to make sure that those who need the federal investment most receive it. I challenge the full committee to move on this measure soon, and I also hope the U.S. Senate will follow suit with a strong L-HHS-Education funding bill for those most in need.”

The measure includes the following increases in funding for HBCUs and low-income, first-generation college students:

  • Strengthening HBCUs:  $375 million ($93 million above FY2019 enacted level)
  • HBCU Capital Financing Program:  $50.484 million, with $20 million specifically to defer loans for private HBCUs and $10 million for public HBCUs ($10 million above FY2019 enacted level)
  • Federal Pell Grants:  $5,285 in discretionary funding and $6,345 for the total annual award per student ($150 per student above FY2019 enacted level)
  • Federal TRIO programs:  $1.1 billion ($100 million above FY2019 enacted level)
  • GEAR UP:  $395 million ($35 million above FY2019 enacted level)
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness:  $350 million set aside for students to award students’ forgiveness and $2.3 million set aside for outreach efforts
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program:  $1 billion ($188 million above FY2019 enacted level)
  • Federal Work Study:  $1.4 billion ($304 million above FY2019 enacted level)

“UNCF has been engaged for months working toward better futures for our students,” said Lodriguez Murray, UNCF’s vice president for public policy and government affairs. “We have had countless meetings with legislators, and then we added to our repertoire by hosting our first ever ‘State of the HBCU’ event where we publicly rolled out our federal agenda for HBCUs and needy students overall. Additionally, we produced our HBCU Honor Roll to publicly recognize the members of Congress who are moving the needle for HBCUs. Also, one of our own HBCU presidents testified before this same subcommittee just earlier this month to underscore our exact priorities and how Congress can help.

“We are actively watching, working with and making note of which members of Congress are positively impacting our institutions from a policy and decision-making stance,” Murray continued. “We will be engaged the rest of the FY2020 process in a bipartisan, bicameral way to achieve the goals we have set with our HBCU partners. Our sense of urgency is tied to helping the students we serve—they are worth the investment.”


About UNCFUNCF (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 21 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than $100 million via almost 400 programs annually, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities. Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter@UNCF.