President Biden is still working to develop a bipartisan version of his Build Back Better plan that includes much needed funding for Black colleges. However, many media outlets are reporting that funding has already been cut. But, as of this article, the bill has only passed the House and is stalled in the Senate.
According to all versions of the plan, Minority-serving colleges and universities, including HBCUs, only stand to gain from the plan. But, misleading social media posts and internet sites report the opposite. They cite $43billion in funding cuts. This is simply not true. As a result, it prompted some HBCU leaders to address the misinformation. Dillard University President, Walter Kimbrough, took to Twitter about a post citing allocations being slashed by $30 billion. He responded by saying, “It’s a lie.”
To date, the Biden administration continues to revise a plan that will pass through both the House and the Senate. As negotiations continue, the Build Back Better Plan is expected to be reduced from $3.5 trillion to $2 trillion. Unfortunately, that could adversely affect HBCU funding, among other line items. Educational funding is not the issue. If affected, it will just be collateral damage. According to the plan, there are subsidies for students, with a family income below $125,000, who attend HBCUs and free community college to students who attend one of the 11 HBCUs that are also community colleges. Other initiatives include money for healthcare programs, infrastructure and a new national lab focused on climate, affiliated with an HBCU. Biden’s newest bill would be a “game-changer” for HBCUs wanting to expand their STEM programs.
No final decisions have been made. But, if the $2 billion increase is approved, it is still not clear the amount for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions. Nevertheless, any money from Congress would be any increase. Americans will just have to continue to watch the Hill until the deal is done.
We are waiting and we are watching.