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This Monday, several Maryland Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) students and supporters bused into the Maryland State Capitol Building and demanded more funding from the state. Seven buses arrived with students from Bowie State, Coppin State, Morgan State University, and Maryland Eastern shore and students rallied on the front lawn and listened to leaders speaking on behalf of the institutions.

The rally was part of a continued effort to get results from the lawsuit filed in 2006, which claimed that Maryland has inequitable policies and practices that promote white public institutions and marginalizes HBCUs. Maryland HBCUs have collectively asked the state for $2.1 billion in funding. According to these funds would go towards enhancing the infrastructure, increasing “high-demand” education programs, and allowing a “critical mass” of talent into these institutions.

Closing arguments were heard in October and there has yet to be a ruling on the issue. HBCU presidents in attendance said that lagging financial support has resulted in low graduation rates, inadequate programs, heavy reliance on adjunct professors and suffering academic programs.

The Legislative Black Caucus of MD also made mention that this was not only a financial issue, but presented issues of social and political injustice.

Tylar Brock, president of the student government association at Bowie State, succinctly reiterated the need for change, “We have been called upon to fight not only for the resources and support of financial aid, but also to increase our graduation and retention rates. Additionally, we need funding to allow our first-time students who have joined the BSU academy and give them an opportunity to walk across that stage.”

As an HBCU graduate, the topic of funding is always at the forefront of black schools. And having also attended a non-HBCU school I am quite aware of how funding can provide a variety of opportunities and resources not seen in many black colleges. However, there are SO many benefits that can make attending HBCUs worthwhile. Hopefully these Maryland schools are successful with the courts in their pursuit of more funding.

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