Wednesday, the U.S. Senate introduced H.R. 748 or Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act ensuring just over $1 billion of dedicated funding for institutions like Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) in response to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on operations. The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) took a leadership role calling on Congress to respond to the needs of HBCUs, which serve a disproportionately high percentage of low-income and first-generation college students. The disruption of classroom-based education to transition to distance learning and even assisting some students with travel back home has put a tremendous unforeseen financial strain on institutions that have historically been underfunded.
“I want to thank the congressional leadership for responding to our call and the needs of HBCUs, and indeed the rest of the higher education community,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF President and CEO. “I call on the House and Senate to swiftly pass this legislation. Also, let me be clear: the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting HBCUs hard. All emergencies that hit the higher education system seem to hit HBCUs harder because we serve mostly Pell Grant eligible students. However, thankfully, this time Congress remembered us, our institutions and our students. Now, we will have the resources to ensure our colleges can make the transition to distance learning platforms that are necessary to continue educating our students.”
Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), who also played an crucial role in advocating for the COVID-19 relief for HBCUs, applaud Congress and Senate for allocating a plan to necessary fund HBCUs during this critical time.
“The deal developed by the Senate is another powerful example of the Congress’ recognition of the importance of and need to deliver for HBCUs, PBIs and their students,” said Harry L. Williams, TMCF President and CEO. “The road to full financial recovery from this crisis will be a long one for our schools, but the collective engagement and tireless bipartisan advocacy of our community has helped to secure the much needed resources our schools require to both navigate this crisis and continue to pursue their respective missions.”
In addition to the supplemental aid, the CARES Act also authorizes the Department of Education to loosen the restrictions on currently appropriated Title III funds. This additional flexibility will allow schools to put previously restricted funds directly to use in addressing new challenges that our school and their students face during the ongoing health emergency.
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. It’s logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”®. Learn more at UNCF.org, or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.
Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominately Black Institutions, enrolling nearly 80% of all students attending black colleges and universities. Though scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education space. The organization is also the source of top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs. For more information about TMCF, visit www.tmcf.org.