HBCUs, HSIs Still Face Funding Hurdles
Congress still has considerable work ahead if it wants to provide a moderate funding increase for minority-serving colleges and universities next year.
House and Senate panels responsible for education funding have unveiled their budget proposals for 2002. In something of a surprise, the Democrat-controlled Senate trails the Republican-controlled House in spending for historically Black colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions.
The GOP-led House also is proposing a much higher budget for GEAR UP, an early intervention program important to Congressional Black Caucus members. In each of these cases, the Senate is sticking closer to President Bush’s lower budget projections for next year.
For HBCUs, the Senate is proposing $197 million for the main Black college aid program, a 6 percent increase that is identical to President Bush’s request. HSIs would receive $73 million, a $5.2 million increase over last year and an amount slightly larger than the president’s budget plan.
The House bill goes farther on both counts. Its plan has $215 million for the main HBCU program, a $30 million increase, plus $82 million for HSIs, an increase of $14.2 million.
Both chambers and the White House would provide a $3 million increase for HBCU graduate institutions, for total funding of $48 million next year.
For GEAR UP, currently funded at $295 million, both chambers in Congress would cut funding. But the House would trim back the program by just $10 million, or 3 percent, while the Senate would cut funding by more than 20 percent, to $227 million — the same figure President Bush proposed earlier this year.
As a Clinton administration creation, GEAR UP appears to have only grudging support from the Bush administration so far. But the program has support in the House, where a Black Caucus member who helped create the program, Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee that writes education spending bills.
The Senate bill proposes $805 million for federal TRIO programs, a $75 million increase from current funding and $25 million more than the president’s request. The House bill would earmark $800 million for these programs.
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