Thurgood Marshall College Fund a resource for HBCU students

Rebekah Hawkins, a senior at FAMU, and many other students at HBCUs across the country, are keenly aware of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Many more are seeking knowledge for a way to break into their field.

“I heard of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund in high school while I began to apply for scholarships for school,” Hawkins said.

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund is one of the largest scholarship programs to support students in the black college community. It provides students with scholarships, internships and shadowing opportunities.

The nonprofit-organization has a partnership with over 40 colleges and universities focusing in the areas of STEAM and entrepreneurship.

HBCU students from across the country who participate in this program can grow professionally and academically.

Many HBCU students, including some FAMU students, have been fortunate enough to attend some of the organization’s biggest events.

Many of their programs include the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program (I&E Program) an initiative that provides its participants with the opportunity to expand their networks and receive feedback on their entrepreneurial career goals. Along with this program they also have the Moguls in the Making.

The TMCF also provides students with study aboard opportunities.

Hawkins reflected on her experience at the TMCF 2018 Leadership Institute, held in Washington DC.

“It was an amazing experience attending seminars, panel discussions, networking and interviewing with some of the top companies in the United States and ending the weekend with a beautiful gala.”

Hawkins said the conference was one of the most intense professional development experiences she’s ever had.

Students from different HBCUs attended the conference and they were privileged to network and interview with major companies.

Dymin Cannon, a sophomore at Florida A&M, is a recent recipient of TMCF scholarship.

“Being a part of their program it has taught me the importance of branding myself and taking advantage of every single opportunity,” he said.

As a part of their initiative the TMCF programs highlight major occupational field such as STEM with their Boeing Scholars Program.

Patrice Hall, a junior at Tuskegee University in Alabama, is a participant in the Boeing Scholars Program. The program provides its participants with two $10,000 scholarships, a signing bonus upon graduation, two internships and first-hand exposure to the Boeing work environment.

“I’ve benefited more honestly from the networking experience than anything else, through attending a conference with a weekend filled with events through the program. I’ve gotten to meet the senior IT strategist which led to them recommending me for a position and personally becoming my mentor,” said Hall.

Through the TMCF, HBCU students are given the opportunity to explore and network within the STEM, Business and Educational fields. The program also provides students with funding and means to explore their field in and out the U.S.

By Alyssa Camacho of the FAMUAN

2019-2020 TMCF | NAF Scholarship


NAF and its corporate partners have established a scholarship program to inspire and support the next generation of future leaders who plan to continue their education. Awards are for undergraduate study only and previous recipients are not eligible to apply.

Students must meet the following minimum criteria to apply for the scholarship:

  • Must be a graduating senior or graduate of a NAF academy.
  • Must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in academy courses.

To complete the application, please submit the following supporting documents:

  • 2019-2020 Student Aid Report
  • Most recent transcript (unofficial or official transcript)
  • Recommendation letter from current NAF faculty member
  • Essays (Maximum of 500 words each.)
  • What are your educational and career goals?
  • Describe areas in your life where you demonstrated leadership and overcame obstacles either through your school, social or family life.

Application Deadline: March 10, 2019, 11:59 PM EST.

How to Apply

To apply, click the button below and create a TMCF Account. Once you sign up and create a TMCF Account, you can complete the 2019 – 2020 TMCF | NAF Scholarship application if you meet the eligibility requirements. The deadline is March 10, 2019, 11:59 PM EST.


U.S. Senate approves measures to help HBCUs

The U.S. Senate has approved a pair of bills that will help historically Black colleges and universities across the country if the measures are approved by the House of Representatives and President Donald Trump.

The HBCU Propelling Agency Relationships Towards a New Era of Results for Students Act, or HBCU PARTNERS Act, would require federal agencies with relevant grants and programs to expand participation of historically Black colleges and universities, share their plans with Congress, and track their progress toward their goals.

And the reintroduction of the HBCU Preservation Program would reauthorize funding for grants to restore historic buildings and sites on the campuses.

Lincoln University President Brenda Allen lauded the moves on Friday.

“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.”

The HBCU Historic Preservation Program would provide “critical funding” to the historically Black university in Chester County, Allen added. It was founded in 1854.

Nearly 300,000 students were educated at HBCUs in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center.

Public universities receive 43 percent of their revenues from federal contracts, grants or appropriations on average, while HBCUs receive approximately 1 percent, according to David K. Sheppard, the senior vice president of General Counsel for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a nonprofit that represents the Black college community.

“That’s a jarring statistic,” Sheppard said by phone on Friday. “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.”

Federal agencies have not made a concerted effort to engage HBCUs since the 1970s and executive orders haven’t changed that, Sheppard said, adding that the legislation would allow Congress to have oversight and ultimately enforcement.

The TMCF has pushed for the legislation and the bill would build on President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order on HBCUs, a commitment to the advancement of the institutions.

The United Negro College Fund and the National Trust for Historic Preservation also have supported the legislation.

Sheppard, who formerly served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Chief of Staff at Delaware State University, says the bill is equally as important.

Delaware State, an HBCU, had millions of costs in deferred maintenance for buildings and some of its residence halls are 50 and 60 years old, he noted.

“That is a relevant issue on every one of our campuses and being able to have those funds available to maintain those facilities and have them meet current federal law whether it’s related to the Americans with Disabilities Act or something else is imperative,” Sheppard said. “We do need those resources. Both pieces of legislation are important.”

U.S. Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced the HBCU PARTNERS Act. Two of their colleagues, Kamala Harris (D.-Calif.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), introduced the re-authorization of the HBCU Historic Preservation Program that was first led by U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.).

By Ryanne Persinger of the Philadelphia Tribune.

MT. Zion C.M.E Church Hosting Black History Month Program

Mt. Zion C.M.E. Church and Pastor Rev. Richard Edwards invites everyone, especially high school students and parents, to their Black History Spotlight at 11 a.m. this Sunday, Feb.17.

Guest speaker is Center native Ashley Odom. Ashley is the daughter of Melvin and Mattie Suell.

She graduated from Center High School in 2001 and attended the University of Houston where she received her Bachelor’s in Marketing. She went on to receive her Masters in Instructional Technology from UH Clear Lake and later received an Education Specialist Degree in Educational Technology from Walden University.

Ashley is currently employed as a Program Manager for Teacher Development with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which is based out of Washington D.C,. and works with the 47 publicly funded Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) around the country. They provide scholarships, internships and programs, one being the Teacher Quality and Retention Program which Ashley leads. Her topic will be the importance of education and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

By Veronica Berry of the Light and Champion

North Carolina A&T’s Terrence J Named National HBCU Ambassador for Thurgood Marshall College Fund

North Carolina A&T State University alumnus, actor and activist Terrance J was today announced as the national ambassador for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the largest advocacy organization representing the nation’s public historically black colleges and universities.

“It is an honor to be the new Thurgood Marshall College Fund National Ambassador,”said Terrence J. “ As a product of a publicly-supported HBCU, I look forward to using my platform to highlight, promote and put a big spotlight on TMCF, and the 47 member- schools they represent because I know first hand the value of HBCUs.”

Terrance J has earned acclaim as a television personality and advocate for HBCUs, serving as a presenter at the TMCF 31st Anniversary Awards Gala, and being tabbed as the host of the 2019 NAACP Image Awards.

“Terrence J is a role model to many young people and this is great news for TMCF. His drive, energy, commitment to HBCUs, and desire to use his international celebrity for good, is inspiring,” said Harry L. Williams, TMCF president & CEO. “Having someone so dedicated to shining the light on supporting TMCF, and the nearly 300,000 students at our member-schools, is exactly why we are thrilled to have him as our new National Ambassador.”

HBCU Digest

Partnerships paving the way to sustain and support Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Not only is February Black History Month, but also an important time to reflect on the undeniable contributions that black Americans have made in virtually every aspect of our nation. When you look at the scores of great men and women we honor this month, there is often a common denominator: attendance at one of our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. People like Rep. Joseph Rainey, Earl Graves, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence J, Marian Wright Edelman, Kàra McCullough, Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Lionel Ritchie are all part of the rich HBCU legacy.

Today, nearly 300,000 students call an HBCU home, and it is in their name, for their futures, and for their dreams that we have to come together to find ways to ensure HBCUs continue to survive and thrive.

HBCUs play a significant role in ensuring that access to quality education is far-reaching. They are at the forefront of giving students who have been overlooked for far too long a chance at their version of the American Dream. A recent report from the Education Trust showed that, of the 105 HBCUs across the country, half of them “have a freshman class where three-quarters of the students are from low-income backgrounds.”

And while there are so many great things about HBCUs, there remain many challenges facing our nation’s more than 100 schools. Their sustainability is at the heart of the issue. The only way to effect real change is to have a coalition, formed by central partnerships that share the same mission and passion.

Nearly four years ago, this recognition led to the creation of a Bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus. Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) was among the very first to support it. Then, when Republicans came to control both the House and the Senate, the idea for a formal HBCU Fly-In was developed, and partnerships began to form. The offices of Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), joined by the leaders and innovators at the helm of both the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the United Negro College Fund, played vital roles in bringing this groundbreaking event to fruition, and our efforts were evident. The majority of the nation’s HBCU presidents and chancellors came to D.C. and have returned every year for the Fly-In.

Partnerships between forward-thinking leaders and organizations are pivotal to developing and implementing the innovative solutions that will support and sustain HBCUs today and in the future. In fact, through intentional alliances, we have made amazing strides in engaging leaders and making direct, positive impacts on the HBCU community, as well as the greater African-American higher education community.

This year, the Third Annual HBCU Fly-In is among one of the remarkable achievements we’ve done when we put aside partisan politics for the betterment of our community. The Fly-In has served as a significant source of brainstorming, conversations, and deep policy discussions that have advanced the ongoing national dialogue about HBCUs.

Leaders from the private sector, HBCU advocates, and government agencies came together to listen, to learn, and to share their insights and perspectives regarding the evolving demands of the American workforce, as well as opportunities for mentoring and career development programs. Efforts like the annual Fly-In exemplify the unique role that we have filled to enact tangible change that will sustain HBCUs while supporting African-American students during and after their higher education journeys.

Some of the direct benefits that have been achieved through our coalition have included:

Building on this legacy of progress and success, an important piece of legislation was introduced: the “HBCU Propelling Agency Relationships Toward a New Era of Results for Students (PARTNERS) Act.” The HBCU PARTNERS Act is designed to strengthen the capacity and competitiveness of HBCUs through a robust public sector, and community partnerships, and engagement. Given its strong bipartisan support and its alignment with the administration’s priorities, there is no reason that this bill should not pass in both chambers and head to the president’s desk.

Simply put, this legislation would codify and expand upon the president’s February 2017 executive order on HBCUs, directing federal agencies to create annual plans that outline their goals, achievements, and room for growth with regards to HBCUs. Through the creation of these plans, we feel confident that agencies will leverage existing resources and programs, but also generate ideas for future initiatives, to create and strengthen pipelines to opportunity for HBCU students.

Ultimately, coming together to address the issues and challenges HBCUs face is the key to unlocking the opportunities and solutions necessary to promote the sustainability and success of HBCUs so these institutions—and the students, careers, and communities that depend on them—will thrive.

Tim Scott, a Republican, represents South Carolina in the U.S. Senate. He is the first African American to be elected to the House and the Senate in the history of the nation. Follow him on Twitter at @SenatorTimScott. Harry L. Williams is the president & CEO of Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. Prior to joining TMCF, he spent eight years as president of Delaware State University. Follow him on Twitter at @DrHLWilliams.





TMCF Media Contact:

Terrence J Media Contact:

WASHINGTON, DC (February 13, 2019) – The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) announced internationally recognized actor, host, producer, author, and philanthropist, Terrence J, as the new TMCF National Ambassador.

“It is an honor to be the new Thurgood Marshall College Fund National Ambassador,” said Terrence J. “ As a product of a publicly-supported HBCU, I look forward to using my platform to highlight, promote and put a big spotlight on TMCF, and the 47 member-schools they represent because I know first hand the value of HBCUs.”

From hosting to acting in worldwide box office hit films including Think Like a Man, Think Like a Man Too and The Perfect Match to penning his first literary work, The Wealth Of My Mother’s Wisdom, Terrence J, has shown skill and versatility among a vast number of different arenas. After seven years of hosting BET’s “106 & Park,” Terrence J is one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood as the former co-anchor of the international news program “E! News” and as a producer and host for “Miss USA 2016” and “Miss USA 2017.”

“Terrence J is a role model to many young people and this is great news for TMCF. His drive, energy, commitment to HBCUs, and desire to use his international celebrity for good, is inspiring,” said Harry L. Williams, TMCF president & CEO. “Having someone so dedicated to shining the light on supporting TMCF, and the nearly 300,000 students at our member-schools, is exactly why we are thrilled to have him as our new National Ambassador.”

No stranger to HBCUs and TMCF, Terrence J was a TMCF scholarship recipient and participated in TMCF programming while a student at North Carolina A&T State University. He recently hosted the 2018 VMA Live Pre-Show, served as a presenter at the TMCF 31st Anniversary Awards Gala, and will host the 2019 NAACP Image Awards.

To learn more about TMCF programs, scholarships and events, visit:

Note: Dr. Harry L. Williams, TMCF president & CEO is available for further comment.


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 Predominantly Black Institutions, enrolling nearly 80% of all students attending black colleges and universities. Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the PK-12 and higher education space. The organization is also the source of top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.

TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization. For more information about TMCF, visit:

The Honorable Kamala Harris Sits Down with Dr. Harry L. Williams for Fireside Chat

Positive vibes, energy, and HBCU representation filled the room with presidents and chancellors from colleges around the nation. It was truly an honor to be seated at the table with such prestige and power, and to hear first hand from these representatives who lead the most prestigious educational institutions for African American college students.

Senator Kamala Harris and Dr. Harry L. Williams, President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund sat down for a fireside chat during the annual Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) event for its 47 member-school presidents and chancellors. The event was packed with sessions on the TMCF value proposition, HBCU sustainability, capital financing for HBCUs, capacity building opportunities, and the advocacy agenda for the new 116th Congress. As a proud HBCU graduate of the illustrious Fisk University established in 1866, the discussion was not only something that I could relate to, but also something that I strongly support and understand. As TMCF’s mission is to ensure student success by promoting educational excellence and preparing the next generation of workforce talent through leadership development, if we don’t advocate and it’s not us, then who?

About TMCF:

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 (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). Publicly-supported HBCUs enroll over 80% of all students attending HBCUs. Through 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 a source for top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.

To date the organization has awarded more than $300 million in such assistance to its students and member-schools. TMCF distributes 98% of its awards exclusively to HBCUs and PBIs, which is more than any other organization that supports the Black College Community. TMCF has achieved the highest level of accreditation from three major non-profit review groups: Charity Navigator (4-Stars), Guide Star (Platinum Level Participant) and Better Business Bureau – Wise Giving Alliance (20 out of 20 standards). TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization and the place WHERE EDUCATION PAYS OFF.

To learn more and how you can support visit

By Patrice Hartt of Millbuzz.

TMCF | Wells Fargo Scholarship

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and Wells Fargo are proud to offer financial assistance to outstanding students attending one of the 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) within the TMCF member-school network. The Wells Fargo Scholarship is open to students with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Selected scholars will receive a one-year merit scholarship of up to $5,000 for the 2019-2020 academic school year, which will be used to cover the costs of tuition and fees, on-campus room and board and required textbooks purchased from member schools. The funds are applied in the fall and spring semesters at $2,500 per semester.

Wells Fargo Scholarship Requirements

  • Enrolled as a Sophomore, Junior or Senior for the 2019-2020 school year
  • Be enrolled as a full-time student at one of TMCF’s 47 member-schools
  • Current grade point average of 3.0 or higher
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Have demonstrated leadership ability through a variety of measures
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident with valid permanent resident card
  • Open to all majors

To complete your application, please submit the following supporting documents:

  • 2019-2020 Student Aid Report (received from filing FAFSA)
  • Most recent college transcript (unofficial or official)
  • Recommendation from current school professor or faculty member (must be completed online by the recommender)
  • Essay: Please address the following question: What college course has had the greatest impact on you with regard to your worldview, personal growth and/or career plans? Why? How will this affect your plans for the future?

How to Apply

To apply, click the button below and create or login to your TMCF Account. Once you have signed up or logged in, you can complete the TMCF | Wells Fargo Scholarship application. The deadline is March 24, 2019, 11:59pm EST.

Lower Enrollment Hits Higher Ed Hard, HBCUs The Hardest

Shifting demographics have long posed challenges for U.S. programs like social security and Medicare – as declining birthrates change the calculus for keeping them afloat. Now, fallout from demographic change is also hitting the higher education industry as a decline in the number of high school graduates – even as actual graduation rates remain steady – leaves smaller colleges and universities vulnerable to the devastating financial impact of lower enrollment.

The problems are most pronounced at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which have been plagued by years of slow growth, and more recently, declines in enrollment.

Attendance at colleges and universities grew 91% between 1976-2010, then declined 6% between 2010 and 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. HBCUs followed the same pattern, but the gains paled in comparison to the overall trend, while the recent losses were more pronounced. In 1976, there were 223,000 students enrolled at HBCUs, a figure that grew 47% by 2010, to 327,000 students. But between 2010 and 2016, enrollment at HBCUs dropped 11% to 292,000 students.

HBCUs were established to provide black students, who were discriminated against at “mainstream” institutions, access to higher education. But since the civil rights movement, black students have had access to higher education anywhere, which diverted the applicant pool away from HBCUs.

What’s more, HBCUs have a reputational problem, largely stemming from the perception they are less prestigious than their mainstream peers. And now, the problem’s reached a boiling point: only 101 HBCUs are operational today in the U.S., compared to 121 in the 1930s.

“HBCUs as a group are in trouble, no doubt about it,” said Richard Vedder, professor emeritus at Ohio University. “Enrollments have fallen substantially and endowments are very low at most of these schools, and therefore have little cushion, though that’s offset by federal support to HBCUs, which have kept them alive.”

Bennett College, a private women’s school in North Carolina, is at risk of losing accreditation due to its financial condition, though a successful fundraising campaign provided the school a lifeline. Cheyney University is also at risk of losing its accreditation and remains on probationary status given its financial pressures. In 2018, Enrollment dropped by 38%, and university-hired consultants have recommended the school merge with another or close altogether.

Losing Cheyney would represent a highly symbolic blow since it was the first HBCU, established in 1837.

“Without a sense of urgency, there’s a sense of complacency,” said Harry L. Williams, president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “Some of these things have crept up on our schools, but there’s nothing new as far as sounding the alarm.”

Struggling schools are now examining their affordability, reviewing academic offerings to ensure they are in line with students’ demands, and some may consider consolidating their programs or merging with another institution.

Schools depend on tuition revenue, but reducing tuition can provide a boost in enrollment. Elizabeth City State University’s student volumes declined 60% between 2010-2016. North Carolina lawmakers approved a program to reduce tuition for in-state students at ECSU and two other state institutions – resulting in a 64% cut to $500 per semester for ECSU students starting in fall 2018. Enrollment at ECSU subsequently grew by 20%.

That kind of support is extraordinary – and not something that all states can afford, especially at a time of anemic growth in state aid to higher education.

Institutions can also benefit from focusing on efficient programming. By emphasizing its core programming, North Carolina A&T – which focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM programs – has seen tremendous growth in the past several years, and expects to grow by 17% in the next four. On the flip side, schools can also reduce or eliminate unpopular offerings.

Merging with another institution could prove beneficial for distressed schools. Although there may be resistance, due to concerns about losing campus identity, it should be noted that if the university closes, there will be no campus identity to preserve.

With flagship institutions like Cheyney at risk, all institutions—HBCUs and otherwise—must reposition themselves to ensure they thrive in the future.

Maria Amante is a reporter for Debtwire covering stressed credits in Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, higher education and tobacco bonds. She can be reached at

The article appeared in Forbes.