September 18, 2018
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Doug Jones today introduced legislation to permanently extend and increase mandatory funding levels for minority-serving institutions, like Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The Strengthening Minority-Serving Institutions Act will increase mandatory funding levels from $255 million to $300 million for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions of higher education. A majority of this funding is currently set to expire in Fiscal Year 2019 and the other part of the funding expired in Fiscal Year 2014, leaving already financially strapped schools at risk.
“Alabama is home to fourteen outstanding HBCUs – the most out of any state in the nation,” said Senator Jones. “These institutions are part of the fabric of our communities and the foundation of our higher education system. True to their resilience in the face of struggle, they have continued to achieve remarkable accomplishments despite many facing serious financial challenges. The Strengthening Minority-Serving Institutions Act will help ensure these historic schools will be able to continue to provide exceptional educational opportunities to their students while improving their facilities and expanding opportunities for both students and educators.”
WATCH: Senator Jones Delivers Remarks on the Senate Floor on the Strengthening Minority-Serving Institutions Act
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently investigated the capital finance needs of HBCUs. Its report found that 46-percent of all HBCU buildings are in need of repair or replacement due to deferred maintenance. Compounding this challenge are the difficulties HBCUs face when attracting revenue from diverse sources and the smaller endowments they maintain, which can impact their credit rating. GAO also found that HBCUs have endowments that are approximately half of those of similar non-HBCUs. None of the top 90 institutions with endowments over $1 billion are HBCUs.
The funds provided for in Senator Jones’ legislation could be put toward capital improvement needs, as well as faculty and curriculum development and student services.
Under the Strengthening Minority-Serving Institutions Act:
· Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) would receive $99,875,000, an increase of nearly $15 million in capacity-building funding;
· Hispanic-Serving Institutions would receive $117.5 million, an increase in $17.5 million in capacity-building funding, with priority for STEM and Articulation programs;
· Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) would be eligible for a competitive grant program funded at $17,625,000, an increase of $2.6 million, with each school eligible for $600,000 grants; and,
· All other Minority-Serving Institutions would receive $65 million, an increase of $10 million in capacity-building funding.
There are over 100 accredited HBCUs, both public and private, in 19 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They enroll approximately 300,000 students, 80-percent of whom are African-American and 70-percent are from low-income families. While HBCUs only make up three-percent of the country’s colleges and universities today, they produce nearly 20-percent of all African-American graduates.
Senator Jones’ legislation has garnered 23 cosponsors, including Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-N.M.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Jon Tester (D-MT).