Washington, DC, July 26 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Elected officials and private donors must redouble their support for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), according to a report released today by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).
Titled “Greater Funding, Greater Need: A Report on HBCU Funding,” the new UNCF report reveals that the influx of federal government funding and private donations over the past two years is not enough. and does not begin to make up for decades of neglect. .
“We call on Congress to act now and pass the Senate Appropriations Bill providing more funding to HBCUs and the HBCUs IGNITE Excellence Act, which will provide much-needed funding to rebuild the infrastructure of HBCUs. aging facilities,” said Lodriguez Murray, senior vice president. , Public Policy and Government Affairs, UNCF.
“Thanks to the massive influx of private funding and donations, HBCUs entered 2022 in a much stronger position than before the pandemic began,” Murray said,
“If Congress does not act now, HBCUs now run the risk of losing funding to stakeholders who may mistakenly believe the need has diminished. Going forward, a major challenge for HBCUs will be overcoming common myths about these institutes.”
Over the past two years, HBCUs have distinguished themselves in the face of uncertainty and hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest following the death of George Floyd, which has brought renewed and broader attention to growing issues of racial justice.
“HBCUs continue to punch above their weight, producing graduates who are productive citizens contributing to the success of our country, and they impact our national economy by $15 billion annually,” Murray said.
“HBCUs have innovated to embrace remote learning and redirected funds to provide their students with much-needed support. And they got a wave of funding; the federal government has allocated more than $6.5 billion to 101 HBCUs over the past two years, and private donors have dramatically increased their donations. As a result, HBCUs have found renewed optimism and hard-won resilience.
However, for decades, “the federal government ignored its legal obligations to allocate funds at prescribed levels,” Murray noted.
“There is an inherent immorality underlying this model that HBCUs are the best-functioning institutions for black students, yet they remain chronically underfunded. Moreover, this cycle fuels the perception that they are not worth supporting,” Murray said.
To produce the report, the UNCF Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute conducted a survey of 37 HBCUs at UNCF member institutions in January and February 2022.
“The goal was to better understand each responding institution’s ability to access federal funds and increased philanthropic giving during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Nadrea Njoku, director of the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute, UNCF.
The survey also highlighted the financial situation of HBCUs, their funding needs and their top priorities for the coming year. In total, leaders from 31 HBCUs participated.
Respondents noted that funds over the past two years have been used to implement and upgrade technology on campus to better support students and faculty in delivering and accessing distance education during and throughout the pandemic.
Additionally, the funds were used to stabilize operations to cover salary expenses, improve technical capabilities by giving students laptops, and help students reduce debt.
However, funding for the upkeep of outdated buildings and student accommodation has not kept pace.
The report found that nearly two-thirds of HBCUs surveyed said they had more than $5 million in deferred maintenance.
According to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), public HBCUs average over $60 million in total deferred maintenance.
Federal spending bills such as Build Back Better and the HBCUs IGNITE Excellence Act would allocate significant levels of funding to HBCUs, but are currently stalled in Congress.
In addition to deficiencies in deferred facility maintenance, HBCU endowments are only a fraction of those of their non-HBCU counterparts, according to the UNCF report.
Colleges and universities use endowments to support scholarships, upgrade facilities, and hire faculty, among other things. The report found that “HBCU endowments are currently lower than other institutions by at least 70%.” A GAO study identified in the report found that HBCUs have an average endowment of $15,000 per student, compared to $410,000 endowment per student at comparable non-HBCUs.
To increase the funding needs of HBCUs, the report proposes the following calls to action:
- Commit to funding HBCUs, collectively, at federally mandated levels going forward while providing additional funding to address the deferred maintenance backlog.
- Bring together public and private sector donors to help HBCUs secure unrestricted funds to achieve parity in their endowments.
- Capitalize on the increased awareness of HBCUs to attract a higher level of contributions from private donors and reinforce the importance of unrestricted giving.
“Much work remains to be done, but UNCF is constantly strengthening its broad coalition of stakeholders to ensure Black students and HBCUs have the resources they need to thrive. I hope policymakers, elected officials and private donors will use this report as an evidence base to inform their funding decisions and redouble their support for HBCUs,” Murray said.
To read the full report, visit UNCF.org/GreaterFunding.
The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is the largest and most effective minority education organization in the country. To serve youth, the community, and the nation, UNCF supports student education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance minority education and college preparation. Although they represent only 3% of all colleges and universities, institutions at UNCF and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, granting 13% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 24% of all STEM degrees obtained. by black college students. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarships, internships and fellowships, mentoring, summer enrichment, and faculty training and development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo represents the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized brand, ‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste.® Learn more about UNCF.org or for ongoing updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.