The U.S. Senate has approved a pair of bills that will help historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), reports the Philadelphia Tribune.
The HBCU Propelling Agency Relationships Towards a New Era of Results for Students Act, or HBCU PARTNERS Act, would give Historically Black institutions of higher learning more access to grants and programs from federal agencies. The agencies would be required to share their plans with Congress and track the HBCUs’ progress.
The HBCU Preservation Program would also be reauthorized, per reports. That program provided funding for grants that would help restore historic buildings on campuses.
“Partnerships are a high priority under our new strategic plan,” Lincoln University President Brenda Allen told the Tribune on Friday. “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.”
According to David K. Sheppard, a senior vice president of the nonprofit General Counsel for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, HBCUs receive 1 percent of their revenues from federal contracts, grants or appropriations on average, while public universities receive 43 percent.
“That’s a jarring statistic,” he told the Tribune. “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.”
By Teddy Grant of Ebony