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Inaugural Report from Center for the Study of HBCUs: Biden/Harris Education Agenda Must Support Funding Equity for HBCUs Evaluates Biden/Harris Education Priorities, Areas of Greatest Impact for HBCUs

January 25, 2021

RICHMOND, VA – Today, the Center for the Study of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) at Virginia Union University released “A Pledge of Allegiance to Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Key Priorities of the Biden/Harris Administration.” The first of its kind, this new report is designed to synthesize the new administration’s education priorities that will most directly impact HBCUs and provide a vehicle for tracking accountability to the HBCU community as the policy agendas for these institutions evolve.

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities play a critical role in evolving a diverse society. Research shows that HBCUs graduate more black professionals than primarily white institutions,” said Dr. Hakim Lucas, President and CEO of Virginia Union University.  “There are many promising proposals in the new administration’s agenda—but there’s a long history of broken promises and inequitable treatment when it comes to HBCUs.”

Revealing the reality that HBCUs receive less than 1% of federal funding, the report identifies and addresses several policy gaps that President Biden aims to correct that could most immediately address inequities in funding for HBCUs.  They are:

  1. Increasing the maximum award for federal Pell grants, nearly doubling its current value;
  2. Creating “Title I” for postsecondary education, similar to what’s available for K-12 schools/districts;
  3. Strengthening research capability at HBCUs through centers and grants;
  4. Building infrastructure for updated facilities, labs, and services;
  5. Reducing, if not eliminating, educational debt and expanding graduate degree programs; and,
  6. Promoting student success through Title III and Title V commitments

The Center is committed to ensuring the sustainability of HBCUs in the United States. It uses research and programming to regularly assess the federal government’s progress toward delivering on the promises made to Black colleges.

“These 101 national treasures punch above their weight, in terms of providing access to first-generation, low-income, and vulnerable populations, as well as cultural advancement, economic development, and student success,” said Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, Provost & Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs at Virginia Union University and director of the center. “HBCUs are powerful economic and cultural engines in American society, and the center’s research focus was designed to ensure their sustainability.”

To read the full report, click here