HBCUs Could Lose More Than $20 million Per Year in Cuts

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When the congressional super committee charged with reducing America’s deficit failed to reach an agreement on what cuts should be made in 2013, some assumed HBCUs, of which their presidents and supporters warned were being targeted, were off the hook. But an article on The Root says not so fast.

Unless a new deal is struck, Historically Black Colleges and Universities could still lose more than $20 million per year in federal support through across-the-board cuts, or they could lose as much as $85 million per year through the normal appropriations process.

“This needs to go at the top of the ‘Must do — now!’ list of everyone who cares about HBCUs,” Michael Lomax wrote in his editorial, encouraging supporters to make their local congressional leaders accountable to the members of their jurisdiction who care about this issue.

Citing the more than 47,000 college graduates produced by HBCUs each year, the 180,000 jobs HBCUs represent, and their $13 billion dollar impact to the nation’s economy, Lomax says this is not the time for the government to back out on its long-standing support of these institutions, particularly as minorities grow in this country.

But do people—specifically the people in power—still want to support HBCUs? Some still hold the view that these institutions promote segregation and question the need for them now that America has become so “racially integrated,” others cite poor graduation rates as proof that HBCUs aren’t serving its students. Unless HBCUs receive large endowments from private parties, it seems unlikely that they won’t at least have to swallow the $20 million losses, further restricting their resources and their ability to adequately prepare its graduates for the work force. And then what will that do to representation of African Americans in the work place?

Do you support HBCUs? Do you believe they are a necessary part of the education system? Do you think the government will eventually try to phase out HBCUs by weaning federal support?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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