BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) federal funding under the Biden administration has been dwindling down. The newest version of the $45 billion plan now sits at $2 billion.
For many who walk campuses like Southern University, this was very disappointing news, however, many said there’s still hope.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t shocked by this. This is traditionally what happens,” said NAACP Political Action Committee Chairperson Jarrett Luter.
President Biden’s $45 billion HBCU funding proposal was reviewed by legislators in the House Education and Labor Committee before getting cut to $2 billion. Luter said HBCUs need as much funding as possible.
“The students that go there — they are already financially strapped. That funding is not just for the university, but it’s for the benefit of the students,” he explained.
Although money was cut, Dillard University President Dr. Walter Kimbrough said this is actually something they can work with.
“Maybe you don’t get 50 billion. Maybe you get two or three billion, but if we normally get a billion a year, and I get three or four, that’s a big increase,” he said. “We [have] got to push because he’s given us an opportunity now to advocate for the funds that we need. But we have to do our part to invest.”
Representative Troy Carter tweeted about the cut in funds today. He said he is in favor of more funding but said it may be tough.
“From my perspective, I’d love it to be the large number, but I’m realistic that in order to compromise and get it done, we may have to settle for something a little less than what would be perfect in the hearts and minds of many,” said Carter.
Kimbrough said this money was planned to be used for things like infrastructure and student learning. However, the funding cut does make things a little more difficult when competing with bigger minority schools.
“You have a pool of money that they are going after and I’m going after, I’m on the losing end of that just to begin,” Kimbrough explained.
Local leaders pointed out that HBCUs are already underfunded in comparison to other universities.
“I mean, we didn’t have the levers to be able to get in and vote for things that would benefit us. So you don’t have that power. And there’s a lot of power in voting. You can’t have resources directed towards you intentionally. It all had to be philanthropic,” he explained.
He said negotiation is not over and change can still happen.
“So you contact your local representatives, continue to contact your congresspeople, let them know the benefit of an HBCU and what it means to them,” said Luter.
Local leaders encourage you to contact your state representatives and officials to make sure your voice is being heard.