Senate Proposes Increases for HBCUs, HSIs
Black colleges get 3 percent more; Hispanic colleges get nearly 6 percent hikeFunding for Black colleges and other minority-serving institutions would increase slightly under a 2003 funding bill proposed in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
HBCUs would receive more than $213 million next year, an increase of $7.4 million above current funding. However, this increase is identical to President Bush’s budget request made earlier this year.
The Senate also matched President Bush in proposing a 3 percent, or $1.7 million increase, for HBCU graduate institutions. If enacted into law, these graduate schools would share $50.7 million in 2003.
Hispanic-serving colleges would get a slightly larger percentage increase next year, although they continue to receive less overall funding than HBCUs. Under the Senate bill, HSIs would receive $91 million, an increase of $5 million, or 5.8 percent, above current funding. The White House had proposed a 3 percent funding increase in its budget last winter.
The Senate also would improve on Bush recommendations for tribal colleges and universities. These institutions would receive $23 million next year, an increase of $5.5 million over current funding and $4.8 million more than the White House request. The Senate said the additional increase would help fund a new program to promote high-priority infrastructure and facility improvements at these institutions.
The bill also contains $295 million — a $10 million increase — for GEAR UP, the college awareness program that combines individual services to students and schoolwide improvements.
Here is a look at other higher education programs in the Senate proposal:
• Graduate assistance: The bill would provide level funding of $31 million for Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need, the same as the president’s request.
• Child care: The Senate would cut funding from $25 million to $15 million for a program that helps colleges provide care for the children of needy students. Lawmakers cited low participation so far in the Child Care Access Means Parents in School program, which offers grants to colleges with large numbers of low-income students.
• Howard University: The bill contains $237 million, same as current funding, for the District of Columbia institution.
• HBCU capital financing: The Senate would set aside $208 million for administrative funds in the HBCU Capital Financing Program, which makes capital available to HBCUs for construction, renovation and repairs through a federal guarantee of construction bonds. This is the same funding amount Congress provided this year.
The Senate bucked tradition this year by starting work on an education appropriations bill before the House of Representatives. The House traditionally approves its bill first, with the Senate acting after Labor Day. It became apparent early on, however, that the House would not mark up its bill until September.
Senators also have more flexibility to provide education funding increases. Compared with a more austere House blueprint, the Senate has reserved $9 billion more for domestic discretionary programs — such as education — for next year. The government’s new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
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