For this year’s general election, President Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, are courting the Black community for their support. The candidates have curated distinct plans to fund historically Black colleges and universities that desperately need federal funding to subsidize their budgets.
In December of 2019, Trump signed the FUTURE Act which allocated roughly $85 million to HBCUs. Trump recently implemented The Platinum Plan, formulated by his administration with assistance from rapper Ice Cube. The plan’s focus is to reach the Black community with promises that include an affordable education for African Americans.
The core of this plan is to “continue to protect the vital role of historically Black colleges and universities, and spur innovative ecosystems by connecting minority institutions with the federal government’s broad range of scientific and engineering research and development.”
FAMU SGA President Xavier McClinton theorized the candidate’s plans would have a huge impact on HBCUs in the future based on their promises to assist with funding and education.
“What stood out to me based on Trump’s plan was the effort to continue funding that he has already implemented with his Platinum plan for Black America,” said McClinton. “Biden’s $70 billion price tag and the specificity of what it all breaks down to, will also be a game-changer for HBCUs.”
Florida A&M University’s former Senate Pro-Temp Zoe Mitchell has also kept an eye on both candidates’ promises.
“The Biden-Harris administration made it clear early in the election that more funding to public colleges was a goal. However, it was the goal for all public colleges and not solely HBCUs,” said Mitchell. “On the contrary the Trump administration seemed to have made it a mission to emphasize funding to HBCUs.”
Biden and Harris pledged to distribute $70 billion towards making HBCUs, tribal colleges and universities and other under-resourced institutions more affordable for their students. Biden promised to expand career pathways for graduates of HBCUs, and minority serving institutions in areas that met national priorities, including building a diverse pipeline of public-school teachers.
According to Biden’s official website, “Students at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs will benefit from Biden’s proposals to double pell grants, slash the income-based repayment of loans to 5% of income, and provide free tuition for students at all community colleges including those that are in MSIs.”
Robyn Seniors, the National Co-Chair for HBCU students for Biden, felt Biden’s plan would support HBCUs.
“The plan is a comprehensive plan for lifting up the Black community that so long has been left behind. It covers criminal justice reform, healthcare policy and education reform,” said Seniors.
On Monday, HBCU Students for Biden held a national HBCU homecoming weeklong event.
“The national HBCU homecoming week entailed a myriad of events that were planned to create spaces for HBCU students to celebrate the culture and community while encouraging them to vote,” said Seniors.
HBCUs play a major role in educating the next generation of African American leaders. However, these institutions anticipate on investments reflective of their importance to the community. As president, Biden has promised to take steps to rectify the disparities in funding they receive. However, Trump has already delivered.