HBCUs came into existence out of necessity as a result of racial discrimination that denied Black Americans access to higher education. While HBCUs represent only approximately 3% of two- and four-year public and private nonprofit institutions that participate in federal student financial aid programs, they award 17% of all bachelor’s degrees earned by Black students, and have played a critical role in graduating Black students with bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields. HBCUs also contribute substantially to the national economy, providing over 134K jobs and $14.8 billion in economic impact in 2014 alone.
Despite the large benefit HBCUs have provided the national economy, they struggle with adequate funding and resources. HBCUs rely more heavily on public funding than other schools because HBCUs have fewer private funding options and face discrimination from private funding sources, but public funding for HBCUs has been cut by 42% since 2003. HBCUs lack the fundraising infrastructure to tap their alumni network, resulting in small endowments.
HBCUs fill an important gap that currently exists in our higher educational system. We need to ensure they have equitable funding and equal access to resources available to other higher education entities.
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Problems to be Solved
- HBCUs do not have sufficient financial resources, and they lack the access to private funding, endowments, and grants that other universities rely on
- HBCUs can’t give out as many scholarships as the schools they compete with
- HBCUs are charged more in bank fees when obtaining tax-exempt loans
I’m for dramatically increasing the federal allotment to HBCUs. The problem with education right now is that it’s become a business. What happens is, schools end up benefiting by catering to the affluent. So, you have these HBCUs that have an incredible historical mission that’s shown to elevate hundreds of thousands of African Americans. But, because they don’t have these crazy endowments that some of the rich schools do, they’re struggling.
- Ensure HBCUs have the funding they need to help their students thrive
- Address unequal bank practices in lending to educational institutions
- Provide HBCUs with funding to enable them to provide their students with the same opportunities as other schools
As President, I will...
- Ensure HBCU federal funding levels are equitable when compared to similar schools.
- Commit $250 million in federal funds to provide training programs in grant writing for faculty and staff at HBCUs.
- Provide $7.5 billion in federal funding for general infrastructure improvements including facilities and academic resources, as well as $750 million for building out a fundraising infrastructure.
- End any practices that allow banks to charge HBCUs higher fees, and provide public funding options to ensure that all HBCUs can receive lower rates.
- Help strengthen HBCUs with support for loan forgiveness and salary incentives through $1.5 billion in federal funding to recent PhDs who commit to teaching at HBCUs.
- Strengthen and empower the White House Initiative on HBCUs by providing $6 billion in federal funding for scholarships and internships through the organization, and by encouraging them to engage in dialogue with HBCU leaders on strengths and weaknesses of various programs.