North Carolina's Historically Black Colleges at risk of losing federal funding

Thursday, November 21, 2019
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North Carolina's Historically Black Colleges at risk of losing federal funding

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina's 10 historically black colleges are at risk for losing millions of dollars in if Congress doesn't act.

Title III, a federal funding bill that could provide $255 million dollars to STEM programs, is held up in Washington.

"Every dollar is crucial," says Ray Trapp, Director of External Affairs for North Carolina A&T State University. "Especially when you talk about HBCUs who have historically have had to fight for any resource allocation that we get to educate our students."

Trapp lobbies in Raleigh and Washington for NC A&T State University, the nation's largest HBCU. Trapp says the prominent STEM school could lose $1.6 million if the budget bill is not passed. Money used to fund research, building maintenance, and PhD programs.

"These are our students that are making an immediate impact at the university, making an immediate impact in the state, the nation," Trapp stated.

In September, the House passed the Future Act sponsored by Alma Adams and Mark Walker of North Carolina.

It provided $255 million for the next two years

The proposed funding would expand STEM programs held at HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions. And it addressed student loan debt.

This week, the Senators blocked the proposal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying, "It is profoundly disappointing and deeply shameful."

But Senators with on the Senate education committee offered a different proposal: $255 million each year funded permanently, with provisions to simplify access to financial aid and increase Pell Grant for prisoners.

"The House proposal is based on a budget gimmick, which would make it difficult to pass the Senate and would create a new funding cliff for these colleges within a matter of months," said Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennesee .

Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina is on the Senate education committee and supports the proposal.

If congress doesn't act, HBCUs will have federal funding until Oct. 1 of next year.

North Carolina Central University and Saint Augustine's University released statements:

NCCU's statement:

"North Carolina Central University supports the immediate passage of the FUTURE Act that has provided critical funding to our university and nearly all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). HBCUs receives $85 million per year for the Mandatory Title III-Part F (of the Higher Education Act of 1965) - SAFRA Program. This fiscal year, NCCU received more than $1.3 million for the SAFRA Program. HBCUs across the country want to ensure this funding is passed so we continue to enhance our STEM and other academic programs."

Michael D. Page, D. Min.

Director, Office of External Affairs and Government Relations

North Carolina Central University

Saint Augustine's University's statement:

"The Senate's decision not to fund the Futures Act for Minority Serving Institutions will mean less money for research and grants that could have helped St. Augustine's University students. Institutions like SAU rely on the grants and other funding at the federal level to sustain our programs. Without these funds our faculty and students will have fewer opportunities for the undergraduate research that is integral to their development as researchers in their field of study. "