On the heels of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (D-Vt) HBCU tour last week, the 2020 presidential candidate has released the most substantive plan to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities of the Democratic field, according to a release.
Sanders proposes a multi-billion dollar plan to make private and public HBCUs tuition-free, an Executive Order to eradicate systemic racism impairing HBCUs, the cancelation of burdening public loan debt held by HBCUs, and targeted funding to address disparities in health care, education, and agriculture affecting Black people and other marginalized communities.
Additionally, Sanders will dedicate $5 billion to expand HBCU and MSI teaching programs and an additional $5 billion to recruit, train, and retain Black K-12 teachers. His plan also ensures teachers will receive a minimum $60,000 per year salary.
Sanders also set aside billions of dollars in Green New Deal research funds for HBCUs and MSIs to make sure occupied and targeted Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities “who are most predisposed to the effects of climate change, are guaranteed a role in an expansive plan to transform our country’s energy system and create 20 million new jobs,” according to his campaign’s press release.
“All over this country, too many HBCUs have struggled financially from a lack of federal resources, they’ve suffered from a drop in enrollment and from crushing institutional debt. And yet today, the need for HBCUs and the education they provide has never been greater,” Sanders said during an event at Morehouse College, which drew 2,000 people.
As the Sanders’ campaign notes, “Had student debt been canceled in 2016, the wealth gap between Black families under the age of 40 and their white counterparts would have shrunk from 12 to 1 where it is today, to 5 to 1.”
Sanders’ 2020 National Co-Chair Nina Turner, National Press Secretary Briahna Joy Gray, HBCU Outreach Coordinator, and surrogates Phillip Agnew and Ja’Mal Green met with students at Tennessee State University, Alabama State University and Tuskegee University, before the tour culminated at Morehouse.
As ESSENCE previously reported, Sanders also launched an HBCU tour during his 2016 presidential campaign.