Senate approves bills to strengthen federal support for HBCU’s

Howard University

The U.S. Senate recently passed a pair of bills that will help strengthen federal support for HBCU’s.

According to the Philadelphia Tribune, the HBCU Propelling Agency Relationships Towards a New Era of Results for Students Act, or HBCU PARTNERS Act, requires federal agencies to annually plan and coordinate efforts to support and expand participation of historically Black colleges and universities through relevant grants and programs.

“Our nation’s HBCUs are absolutely essential to preparing Black students for the jobs and challenges of the 21st century, and we must ensure that they have the resources they need to continue that mission,” said 2020 presidential hopeful Kamala Harris, D-CA, a co-sponsor of the legislation. “I’m thrilled that the United States Senate has passed this legislation to ensure the federal government is working hand in hand with HBCUs to keep them strong.”

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Lincoln University President Brenda Allen also praised the reintroduction of the HBCU Preservation Program that would distribute funding for grants to restore historic buildings and sites on campuses.

“Partnerships are a high priority under our new strategic plan,” Allen said in an email to The Tribune. “Through a myriad of strategic partnerships, Lincoln works with local, regional, national and international partners to develop property, conduct research, solve community problems and contribute to the cultural life of the community.”

Allen added that the HBCU Historic Preservation Program would provide “critical funding” to the university that was founded in 1854.

While public universities receive 43 percent of their revenues from federal contracts, grants or appropriations, HBCUs reportedly receive one percent, according to David K. Sheppard, senior vice president of General Counsel for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

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“That’s a jarring statistic,” said Sheppard. “In essence, what the legislation will do is allow our institutions to undertake the capacity building efforts that have been lacking to try to close the divide. It’s not only simply about our HBCUs surviving, but thriving, legislation like the HBCU PARTNERS Act will set the stage to allow our HBCUs to thrive.”

As reported by, the HBCU PARTNERS Act is also co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Chris Coons, D-DE; Tim Scott, R-SC; Doug Jones, D-AL; David Perdue, R-GA; Roger Wicker, R-MS; Tim Kaine, D-VA; Marsha Blackburn, R-TN; Chris Van Hollen, D-MD; Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-MS; Cory Booker, D-NJ; Thom Tillis, R-NC; Amy Klobuchar, D-MN; Elizabeth Warren, D-MA; Bernie Sanders, I-VT; and Mike Braun, R-IN.