A newly-proposed $230 million grant in Congress could greatly affect the plight of HBCUs.
HBCU Buzz reports that Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) has introduced the HBCU Innovation Fund Act, which would provide historically Black colleges and universities with $230 million in funding to develop programs that would increase retention and graduation rates, reduce tuition costs, bring more technology to classrooms, implement teacher training courses and improve student achievement.
“HBCUs provide opportunities for many low-income, first-generation and often minority students to get a quality education,” Rep. Adams said in a statement. “HBCUs give students the change they deserve to succeed; however, they have been historically underfunded and lack many of the resources needed to address some of their most extreme challenges. The HBCU Innovation Fund Act is one way to help close some of the gaps that persist on HBCU campuses and within HBCU administrations.”
Rep. Adams’ proposal comes at a time when HBCUs are under intense scrutiny. Last year, Newsweek published an article examining the plight of the universities, and it found that no HBCU saw graduation rates above 70 percent. Additionally, fewer students are choosing to attend the schools—only 9 percent of Black students attend HBCUs, compared to 80 percent in the years following the Civil Rights Movement—and fundraising continues to be a major problem.
Education experts say that Rep. Adams’ proposal could drastically improve the struggling HBCUs.
“This legislation would build the capacity of our colleges to develop, test and implement new approaches that can help HBCUs surmount current challenges and meet the nation’s need for skilled college graduates,” United Negro College Fund President and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax said in a statement. “…We urge swift adoption of this important initiative, whose possibilities are unlimited.”
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