HBCUs get new money in latest spending bill

Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUS, are set to receive an increase in funding during the next fiscal year.

According to Salisburypost.com, funding for the federal program that provides financial assistance for HBCUs will increase nearly $400 million. That’s good news for some of the country’s oldest universities and trailblazers for providing a college education for everyone.

“The omnibus spending bill provides a $22 million increase for the Title III Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities program administered by the U.S. Department of Education, providing the largest funding boost for the program in six years. As a result, total program funding will increase to $387 million in Fiscal Year 2016.”

New money included in the spending bill will continue to help some of these schools recruit new students, replenish endowments,  and perhaps most important, buy cutting-edge technology.

Why HBCUs are so valuable

United Negro College Fund CEO Dr. Michael Lomax believes that this funding will work towards making HBCUs more attractive to new students and said as much in the Salisburypost.com article. I share Dr. Lomax’s belief that HBCUs need to be protected as part of the important college landscape in America.

For the past couple of years, the HBCU category of schools has been under increased scrutiny due to financial reasons and because some schools have been forced to close. There has also been some criticism that the very roles HBCUs were created to take on are not as relevant in today’s diverse college population. I’d argue that the first problem can see potential improvement with federal funding and a bigger cash influx from alumni, private donors and business partnerships. I’d also argue that though the primary role of HBCUs has evolved, they are more relevant than ever and we should continue to support them.

While increased funding will not cure each and every problem that HBCUs have, it will alleviate some of the financial pressure that some schools face – so I think this funding is a step in the right direction.

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