Has Congress moved to enact President Biden’s campaign promise to increase funding to HBCUs?

Thursday, October 14, 2021
By Jacob Alabab-Moser

The Biden administration appears likely to fall far short of a campaign pledge to invest $70 billion in historically Black colleges and other minority-serving institutions to “lower students’ costs, increase graduation rates, establish research centers, build high-tech labs, and more.”

In March 2021, the White House proposed $45 billion in research and development funds for HBCUs and MSIs, as part of the administration’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill. With disagreement among congressional Democrats over funding levels and priorities, the bill’s most recent version allocates only $2 billion for the institutions, in the form of competitively-awarded grants rather than direct allocations. Those institutions would still receive $27 billion in tuition subsidies and $1.45 billion of institutional aid.

In response, a group of HBCU presidents wrote a letter to members of Congress, urging “direct action” through the reconciliation bill to eliminate historical under-investments.

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