President-elect Joe Biden has already foreshadowed his goals for his presidency as far as HBCUs are concerned.
The 47th president’s campaign website highlighted his main election points, including his plan for “education beyond high school” in which he mentions providing funding for minority-based colleges including HBCUs.
To be more specific Biden intends to invest $70 billion into the country’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs), Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), Alaska Native-serving Institutions and Native Hawaiian-serving Institutions (ANNHs), Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs), and Native American-serving Non-tribal Institutions (NASNTIs). This would be one of the largest investments any president has made into minority-based colleges. It may seem somewhat improbable but, given that our future vice president is herself an HBCU graduate (Howard University) it seems more likely that this pledge may come to fruition.
This investment has the potential to change the success and rate at which these colleges compete.
As far as funding is concerned, while many minority-based colleges’ average tuition is lower than that of the competing predominantly white schools, the average household income for students attending these institutions is significantly lower. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be accounted for when it comes to funding.
In 2020, Florida State University receiving a total of $88.9 million in funding from the state, including $46.8 million of its own institutional investment, along with $42 million from the state. Florida A&M University received a total of $29 million, including $13.7 million from the state and $15.3 million from its own investment, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
Within his plan Biden not only recognizes the importance of minority based colleges but highlights his understanding of the disproportionate amount of resources delegated to PWIs compared to funding for minority-based colleges. In an effort to make college more affordable Biden plans to allocate $18 billion grants to these schools. He is also prepared to invest additional funds in private, non-profit HBCUs, TCUs, and under-resourced MSIs, but this money is not simply for leisure use.
As stated in Biden’s online campaign plan, “Schools must invest in lowering costs, improving retention and graduation rates, and closing equity gaps year over year for students of color,” according to
“The Biden Plan For Education Beyond Highschool” on Biden’s campaign website https://joebiden.com/beyondhs/.
Biden also plans to invest $5 billion in graduate programs, internships and career pipeline based research and another $20 billion to build research labs and update facilities.
To better accommodate some of these schools most vulnerable students, it has been said that $7.5 billion will go toward Title V and Title III initiatives.
As this pertains to FAMU, the president and his financial team are “optimistic,” FAMU President Larry Robinson told The Famuan.
Robinson has already begun discussing the initiative with incoming Vice President Kamala Harris via a teleconference call accompanied by another HBCU president. Robinson said that its highly likely that the new administration will follow through with their promise.
“I can’t imagine this administration having a person in the role of vice president who is a graduate of one of the nation’s HBCUs not being committed and not doing everything that they can to make this happen,” Robinson said.