DeKalb, IL — President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris promised to invest more into historically Black colleges and universities.
The education coffer would be split into several pots, including $18 billion in grants to the four-year schools to make the colleges more affordable for their students.
Another $20 billion would be spent on infrastructure to build physical research facilities and labs. The new administration is investing in the facilities and labs to deliver new research, to update deteriorating facilities and to create space for more students.
“For generations, HBCUs have invested so much in students like me — but America hasn’t invested nearly enough in HBCUs. And our nation simply cannot afford to squander this uniquely vital resource,” Harris, an alumna of Howard University, said, according to HBCU Times.
To help increase enrollment, retention, completion and employment rates, the administration plans to invest $10 billion towards those programs. The programs include partnerships with schools and employers, career advising services, remedial courses and more.
The administration also plans to put $5 billion towards graduate programs in teaching, health care and STEM at HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs to invest more into diverse public school teachers.
The rest of the funds would include making permanent $750 million per year in Title III and Title V funding, which will provide a dedicated revenue stream of $7.5 billion over the first 10 years.
“As the new Vice President-elect, we know she will continue advancing her vision of a nation where all people - regardless of race, creed, gender, background, or ethnicity - have access to equitable opportunities to grow and succeed,” Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a statement.
The administration also promised to double Pell grants, slash the income-based repayment of loans to 5% of income and provide free tuition for students at all community colleges, including those that are MSIs.
In the past, several contributions have been to HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs by the Trump Administration. In April, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that $1.4 billion would be provided to the colleges and universities during the pandemic. The money came from additional CARES Act relief funds.
In August, DeVos also announced that $3.9 million in grant awards would go to 17 different HBCUs and MSIs to improve science and engineering programs for students.
Prior to the pandemic, President Donald Trump also signed the FUTURE Act which allocated $255 million per year to HBCUs and MSIs. The Act restored annual funding to the school after Congress failed to renew it.
However, Trump has falsely claimed that he’s “saved” HBCUs. In 2017, he suggested that funding from a federal program towards HBCUs may be unconstitutional because they “allocate benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity and gender.”
Despite Trump’s claims of having saved the institutions, a Biden-Harris Administration could help close the funding disparities between them and predominantly white institutions.