Practically every year, HBCU funding is punted by each chamber of Congress until a deal is reached on whether to increase financial support, keep it the same, or worse, decrease aid. But not anymore. The days of HBCUs being used as a bargaining chip are over.
That’s because earlier this month, the Senate passed a historic bill by unanimous consent to permanently fund HBCUs, and the House passed a similar bill last month. Now, the amended Senate bill heads to the House for a final vote before going to President Trump to sign into law. From this impending historic moment forward, funding for HBCUs shall never be in question again.
The bipartisan bill is known as the FUTURE Act (Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education) and will provide HBCUs with a minimum of $255 million, annually.
The guaranteed funding will aid HBCUs in fiscal sustainability management in good times and downward trends in enrollment during economic uncertainty. A staunch supporter of HBCUs is South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott (R), who stated, “It is critical we ensure that every American family has access to a high-quality education, and today’s action is a big step in that direction. Our HBCUs will have more certainty in their financial planning, and millions of students will benefit from a streamlined FAFSA form. I’m thankful we were able to reach a bipartisan, common-sense solution to help students across the country.”
Going forward, the passage of the FUTURE Act will help prevent HBCU closure but the aforementioned fiscal accountability and responsibility must be equally as important. Regardless of your political views and personal opinions about President Trump, he is delivering on his promises to support the perennial viability of HBCUs. I’m delighted to express from a black perspective, there are now three things that are guaranteed in life: death, taxes, and funding for HBCUs.