HBCUs Propose Increasing Title III Grants

HBCUs Propose Increasing Title III Grants

A new proposal before Congress would ensure that individual historically Black colleges and universities receive at least $1 million each for undergraduate programs under Title III of the Higher Education Act.
The plan is part of a series of increases
HBCUs are recommending to Congress for fiscal 2002, which begins Oct. 1. Specifically, colleges are calling for a $50 million, or nearly 30 percent, increase in the federal government’s main undergraduate HBCU program.
If enacted, the increase would provide $235 million for the program next year —  much higher than the 6 percent, or $12 million, increase proposed by President Bush in early April.
Providing a $50 million increase could ensure that every HBCU receives at least a $1 million grant, a major increase in the minimum allotment, says Dr. Ernest Holloway, Langston University president. “A large number of institutions would get substantially higher grants,” he says. Larger grants may ensure more funding for faculty development, student retention, facilities and endowment efforts, says Holloway.
The plan also calls for a 33 percent increase in funding for HBCU graduate schools, from $45 million to $60 million next year. By comparison, the Bush administration recommended a $3 million funding increase for next year.
The proposal is an ambitious effort by
HBCUs and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) to focus more attention on minority-serving institutions this year. The effort comes as Republicans in the House of Representatives talk about major new outreach initiatives focusing on challenges facing Black colleges.
At a House field hearing in Oklahoma, college leaders called for federal investments beyond the level proposed by President Bush for next year. In addition to recommendations cited earlier, the HBCU plan also seeks:
n $200 million to support minority research efforts at the National Institutes of Health.
n $60 million annually for five years to support historic preservation at HBCUs, and
n $20 million to create 10 HBCU Collaborative Centers of Excellence in Teacher Preparation.
The teaching recommendation follows the release of a September 2000 report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy that showed a major need for more
minority teachers. For example, students of color account for nearly 37 percent of K-12 enrollments. But the share of African American teachers has declined in recent years from 10 percent to 8 percent of the teacher work force.
The $20 million Centers of Excellence proposal calls for Congress to provide the teacher funding under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the nation’s main K-12 education law. ESEA’s reauthorization is under
debate.
But instead of increasing support for teacher education, the new Bush budget cuts teacher quality grants by $44 million. “A cut in this funding will have a tremendous effect on not only students, but also higher education programs at institutions that are trying desperately to recruit future teachers,” says Dr. Henry Ponder, NAFEO president. 



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