Wednesday | December 4, 2019

Scott, Colleagues Propose Bipartisan Solution to Permanently Fund HBCUs

Legislation provides $255 million annually for HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) joined Senate Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Senators Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) to release a bipartisan amendment to the House-passed FUTURE Act to make permanent $255 million in annual funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions, simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 20 million American families, and streamline income-driven repayment for nearly 8 million borrowers.

“The FUTURE Act will provide much-needed long-term financial stability to our nation’s HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions,” Senator Scott said. “I am proud to support this bipartisan solution, which reauthorizes HBCU and MSI funding without putting taxpayers on the hook, and which takes a vital first step towards streamlining and simplifying the FAFSA form. This bill is a win for students, families, and taxpayers.”

“It’s hard to think of a piece of legislation that would have more of a lasting impact on minority students and their families than this bill,” Senator Alexander said. “First, it provides permanent funding for HBCUs and other Minority Serving Institutions attended by over 2 million minority students. Second, it takes a big first step in simplifying the FAFSA for 20 million American families, including 8 million minority students, and eliminating the bureaucratic nightmare created by requiring students to give the federal government the same information twice.”

“While this funding should never have lapsed in the first place, I’m glad that we were able to reach a deal that provides minority-serving institutions with the certainty of funding they deserve—and I truly appreciate the work done on both sides of the aisle to get us to this point,” Senator Murray said. “By permanently extending funding for these valuable institutions and streamlining our student aid system, this deal is a win-win. Now, I look forward to continuing to work with my Republican colleagues on efforts to overhaul the Higher Education Act in a comprehensive, bipartisan way that does right by all students.”

Background on the Amendment:

  • Permanently reauthorizes and provides $255 million in annual mandatory funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions

  • Is fully paid for by including the FAFSA Act which passed the Senate unanimously last year and which:
    • Allows Providing Tax Information only Once—Students do not have to give their tax information to the federal government twice

    • Eliminates up to 22 Questions—Students give permission to the Department of Education to request tax return data already given to the Internal Revenue Service, which reduces the 108 questions on the FAFSA by up to 22 questions

    • Eliminates Verification Nightmare—For most students, eliminates so-called “verification” which is a bureaucratic nightmare that 5.5 million students go through annually to make sure the information they gave to the Department of Education is exactly the same as they gave to the IRS

    • Eliminates $6 Billion in Mistakes—According to the Department of Education, helps taxpayers by eliminating up to $6 billion each year in mistakes (both overpayments and underpayments) in Pell grants and student loans

    • Enables 7 million applicants who are currently unable to access their IRS data for their FAFSA to verify that they do not file taxes without requesting separate documentation from the IRS

    • Streamlines student loan repayment by eliminating burdensome annual paperwork for 7.7 million federal student loan borrowers on income-driven plans

  • According to the Congressional Budget Office, the FAFSA Act saves taxpayers $2.8 billion over ten years which will be used to pay for the permanent funding for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions.

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