UNCF Urges Senate to Approve Increases in HBCU-Related Spending to Nearly $200 Million and $26 Billion to Underserved Students

The U.S. House of Representatives passed its first four bills to fund the government for fiscal year (FY) 2020, including the measure for all of education. The increases specifically for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and the neediest students meet the requests of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). Those proposed funding investments would strengthen the institutions as well as make higher education more affordable for the most underserved students.

The U.S. Senate has not yet taken action. However, H.R. 2740 [SJ1] combines the bills to fund the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Defense, State and Foreign Operations, and Energy into one consolidated vehicle, commonly called a “minibus.”

“UNCF commends the House for continuing its bipartisan support that met our requested investment marks,” said UNCF president and CEO Michael L. Lomax. “I call now on each senator that appreciates the value of education to support and sustain these funding investments for our institutions and the most vulnerable students, especially the 40 U.S. senators who represent the 20 states where HBCUs exist, to take the lead to ensure these funding investments become reality.”

“With the House voting today to pass important and long overdue funding investments in HBCUs and underserved, first-generation college students, we are at the fifty-yard line in the FY 2020 appropriations process,” said Lodriguez Murray, UNCF’s vice president for public policy and government affairs. “The HBCU-related increases are upwards of $200 million over FY 2019. HBCUs have truly done more with less since their inception.  It is time for Congress to help us show a nation hungry for the talent only our institutions can provide, and the economic impact that will follow them, what the institutions can do with a proper investment.  The House bill moves us in that direction, and now we call on our Senate champions to protect and assist us in making FY 2020 significant for the over 100 HBCUs, the nearly 300,000 students attending those institutions, and the nearly 7 million Pell Grant eligible students who will seek a higher education nationwide this fall.”

Education-related funding levels in H.R. 2740 include:

  • Title III / Strengthening HBCUs (Undergraduate):  $375 million ($93 million above FY 2019)
  • Title III / Strengthening HBCUs (Graduate):  $125 million ($51.963 million above FY 2019)
  • HBCU Capital Financing Program:  $50.484 million, with $20 million specifically to defer loans for private HBCUs and $10 million proposed for public HBCUs ($10 million above FY 2019)
  • Federal Pell Grants:  $5,285 in discretionary funding and $6,345 for the total annual award per student ($150 per student above FY 2019)
  • Federal TRIO Programs:  $1.1 billion ($100 million above FY 2019)
  • GEAR UP:  $395 million ($35 million above FY 2019)
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness:  $350 million set aside for students’ forgiveness and $2.3 million set aside for outreach efforts)
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) Program:  $1 billion ($188 million above FY 2019)
  • Federal Work Study:  $1.4 billion ($304 million above FY 2019)

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