Monique LeNoir, UNCF Communications
Calling for congressional action now; bill is “necessary” for HBCUs’ growth and development
(Black PR Wire) UNCF has come out in full support of the revamped HBCUs IGNITE Excellence Act, H.R. 8803. This bill is the most important single piece of legislation for HBCUs before this Congress, and it must be passed by both the House and Senate prior to adjournment.
The bill would require the U.S. Department of Education to disperse grants for constructing new campus buildings, expand broadband access, and acquire research and instruction equipment specifically at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and qualifying minority-serving institutions (MSIs), such as Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions.
“Congress must act now. HBCUs are too vitally important to our nation’s success, but systemic issues have made it so that our institutions need major help with improving and updating their facilities,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF.
“The GAO has studied this issue. UNCF and all HBCUs have studied this issue. We have the data. To say that we believe the time for Congress to act to pass funding—grants, not loans—to help HBCUs would be an understatement. This bill is critical and must be passed before Congress adjourns. HBCUs are producing graduates that change the world and bolster the economy now but imagine what they could do with updated equipment, improved facilities and cutting-edge technology.”
“For the Congressional Tri-Caucus to endorse this bill is huge,” said Lodriguez V. Murray, senior vice president, Public Policy and Government Affairs, UNCF. “To reach consensus among all the groups representing African American, Hispanic and Asian members of Congress means that this bill has broad appeal and support. It also means that the time is now for Democrats and Republicans to join us and pass this bill, just as they worked together to pass the FUTURE Act in 2019.
“While we are in homecoming season, we need everyone who supports their HBCUs to go to our website UNCF.org/hbcuignite, and in less than 15 seconds write their members of Congress,” continued Murray. “This is the way we can make significant change on our campuses and improve our facilities. We must act now to ensure Congress acts now.”
The earlier version of the bill, H.R. 3294, is co-sponsored by 218 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. While totaling only 3% of all colleges and universities, UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 15% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 19% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students in higher education. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® For continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.