Race Matters: Are HBCUs Missing Millions In State Funds Due To Racism And White Privilege?

- By Bossip Staff

Report Shows HBCUs Are Missing Millions In State Funds Compared To PWIs

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been around for years to serve and educate the African American community but a recent report shows that HBCUs have been getting the short end of the funding stick for just as long.

Via Diverse Education:

A September 2013 report published by the Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU) found that, from 2010 to 2012, states were failing to meet the required 100 percent match of federal funding to 1890 land-grant institutions (all public HBCUs). In the same period, the 18 HBCUs covered under this provision did not receive almost $57 million in extension or research fees, as a result of the failure of the states to provide the required funds.

“States have not lived up to their end of the bargaining in providing matching funding [for land-grant HBCUs],” the official says.

“I don’t think that legislators in those states see that HBCUs add important and critical pieces to the higher education landscape,” says Dr. John M. Lee Jr., the former vice president of the Office of Access and Success at the APLU and current assistant vice president for alumni affairs and university relations at Florida A&M University.

Lee says that, not only do schools that do not receive the state match have to operate deficient of those amounts, if they cannot match the federal funds from general operating budgets, the institutions must return the federal funding, penalizing the HBCUs twice.

Even for schools such as the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, which is able to make up the difference from general operating budgets, having to do so “puts a strain on an already low-resource institution,” Lee says.

“In every case, [state contributions are] matched for PWIs, but, in most cases, it is not matched for HBCUs in the same states,” Lee says, adding that the PWI match is often 12-to-1 or 8-to-1. “That is a civil rights issue for me.”

For example, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal recently proposed a budget that cuts $400 million from the state’s higher education budget, with the weight to be divided evenly among all of the system’s schools to compensate for shortfalls. But when schools such as Southern University and Grambling State University are already lower-resource institutions, the impact of this hit is not equal.

“Why would you penalize further schools that are limited resource institutions? They should be exempted [from such cuts],” says the Department of Education (ED) official. Lee agrees. “You’re creating a disaster at institutions that are already underfunded. That’s something that really should be examined in a little more detail, because that’s something that can be catastrophic for Southern and Grambling,” he says.

Do you think HBCUs are a still viable part of the academic landscape for Blacks? The report goes on to state although funding is down across the board, “any one of [the major research institutions] received more than all of the Black colleges combined. And that’s including Howard University. That’s a disconnect.”

Why do PWIs (predominately white institutions) get favor in funding over HBCUs?

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