Fort Valley State University could be owed $603 million from the state of Georgia. The publicly-funded HBCU, located south of Atlanta, is one of 16 HBCUs that are owed money due to the Morrill Act.
The Biden Administration sent letters to 16 governors, pushing them to invest more funds to the HBCUs.
U.S. Secretary of Education and Miguel Cardona and Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack sent the letters to governors with state-funded HBCUs such Alabama A&M University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University (Georgia), Kentucky State University, Southern University and A&M College (Louisiana), University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Alcorn State University (Mississippi), Lincoln University (Missouri), Langston University (Oklahoma), South Carolina State University, Tennessee State University, Prairie View A&M University (Texas), Virginia State University, and North Carolina A&T State University.
The letters pushed for funding under the Morrill Act of 1890 which mandated that states either consider Black students equally or found separate land-grant schools. As a result, per-student funding for HBCUs should be equal to per-student funding for PWI schools.
If Fort Valley State University received equal per-student funding as University of Georgia, the school would have an additional $603 million.
The letter sent to Gov. Kemp revealed how Fort Valley State University has not received equal funding.
“Fort Valley State University, the 1890 land-grant institution in your state, while producing extraordinary graduates that contribute greatly to the state’s economy and the fabric of our nation, has not been able to advance in ways that are on par with University of Georgia, the original Morrill Act of 1862 land-grant institution in your state, in large part due to unbalanced funding,” Cardona and Vilsack wrote in the letter.
Cardona and Vilsack also wrote that federal officials will work with the state to help provide more funding.
“We are at an inflection point that will determine our place in the world as leaders. We need to solidify our country as the top producer of talent and innovation – demonstrating to the global community that nothing can beat American ingenuity. The state that serves as our nation’s economic engine for the next generation is sure to be one that fully realizes all its assets and is committed to ensuring that opportunity is equally distributed. Given the career opportunities that will be available due to recent bipartisan federal investments for key industries, strengthening these universities to provide tomorrow’s workforce will enhance your state’s economic viability. The Departments of Education and Agriculture, working with your state budget office, would welcome hosting a workshop to fully examine the funding data that we shared in this letter,” Cardona and Vilsack wrote.
The governor’s office says it will respond once they collect data.