New Legislation Could Bring Major Money to Minority Schools

New Legislation Could Bring Major Money to Minority Schools

WASHINGTON — In their rush to wrap up action in an election year, congressional leaders are proposing major funding increases for minority-serving colleges and universities next year.
Historically Black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges all are due for major increases under new legislation being developed in the House of Representatives and the Senate. In the House alone, HBCUs would get a funding increase of nearly 30 percent, while support for Hispanic institutions also would grow at a high rate.
Under the bill, HBCUs would receive $185 million, an increase of $36 million. The House bill even would exceed the president’s request; the White House proposed a $20 million increase for the program in fiscal year 2001, which begins in October.
HBCU graduate institutions would receive $45 million next year under the House bill, a $14 million increase from current funding and $5 million above the president’s request and the amount recommended in a Senate spending bill.
If enacted into law, the House measure would push total HBCU funding under Title III of the Higher Education Act to a record $230 million.
Hispanic-serving institutions also are in line for significant gains. The House has recommended $68.5 million in support for the colleges under Title V of the Higher Education Act. The Senate has proposed $62.5 million, the same as the president’s request. The program received $42.3 million this fiscal year.
Tribal colleges, which currently receive $6 million, also would get more funds under the bill. The House and Senate have proposed $12 million and $10 million, respectively, with final amounts to be worked out in conference.
Still, the budget news is not all good for minority-serving institutions. For example, while House Republicans provided $20 million more for HBCUs than the White House, GOP leaders did not endorse an administration plan that could have created  new federal money for minority-serving institutions.
Republicans rejected a proposal to fund dual-degree programs, in which minority-serving institutions could have received grants to partner with other institutions to offer a broader range of degrees. The White House had proposed $40 million for this dual-degree initiative, which could help students at HBCUs or Hispanic-serving schools earn two degrees within a five-year period.
Elsewhere, the House and Senate are sending signals that they will fund the new college completion grant program proposed by the White House and Reps. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., and William Clay, D-Mo. Under this program, colleges could experiment with new ways to improve retention rates of low-income students (see Black Issues, March 30).
Also, the House and Senate each would provide a small increase in federal funding to Howard University in Washington, D.C. The House would provide a $7 million increase, to $226 million, while the Senate would recommend a $5 million gain. 



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