U.S. Senate keeps federal funding for HBCUs alive
Delaware State University and the rest of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities community received encouraging news last week as the U.S. Senate passed legislation that would ensure a source of federal funding for the next ten years.
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators – which included Senate Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, and others – added an amendment to the House-passed FUTURE Act that makes permanent $255 million in annual funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The amendment also simplifies the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) for 20 million families and streamlines income-driven student loan repayment for nearly 8 million borrowers.
With Delaware’s only HBCU largely in mind, the entire First State Congressional Delegation – U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, U.S. Lisa Blunt Rochester, and U.S. Sen. Coons – made the passage of the FUTURE Act a high priority and urged its support on Capitol Hill.
“This is a historic day for Delaware State University and HBCUs across the country, which have played a critical role in helping to ensure that every Delawarean and every American is able to access higher education,” Sen. Coons said. “HBCUs like Delaware State are among our nation’s most important and cherished institutions, and I’m proud that we were able to reach a bipartisan agreement to permanently provide them with the federal funding they deserve.”
Sen. Coons added, “This bill doesn’t only support DSU and HBCUs – it will also simplify the federal student aid process so that millions of American students can access the federal student aid available to them.”
The legislation now only needs the signature of President Donald Trump to become a reality.
With federal funding for HBCUs due to expire on Sept. 30, U.S. Rep. Alma Adams and U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, both of North Carolina, introduced the FUTURE Act bipartisan legislation to extend that funding. After passing the House in September, the legislation was held up in the Senate due to objections from Sen. Alexander.
The amendment addressed Sen. Alexander’s concerns for a longer-term solution, leading to the Dec. 5 Senate passage.
“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,” said Sen. Alexander at the time the amendment was added.