Florida A&M University is one of many historically Black colleges and universities receiving a portion of the national COVID-19 relief bill.
FAMU is receiving a substantial amount of money from the federal government in hopes to better financially support HBCUs, especially during the pandemic. The bill was approved in late December by Congress with a sum of $900 billion. Public schools are receiving $54.3 billion and higher education institutions are set for $22.7 billion in emergency relief aid.
U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC), one of the proponents in proposing the debt cancellation, said this relief would help HBCUs invest “back into their students at a critical time when student assistance is needed the most.” According to , through the years, 44 HBCUs have taken out loans to cover costs to build and repair infrastructure such as libraries and dorms.
Although there is a large financial support being given to Florida A&M, the money is meant for very specific usage.
The major portion of this relief grant for higher education institutions is focused on debt cancellation, specifically for HBCUs. Additionally, the grant is designed to better support the use of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications and an expansion of Pell grants.
“This is game-changing for HBCUs. It is an unprecedented gift of approximately $125 million to FAMU and comes during a very challenging year,” FAMU President Larry Robinson said in a release. “This is a great act on behalf of HBCUs, especially considering that our students will be key beneficiaries. We are extremely grateful to our supporters in Washington for crafting this stimulus legislation.”
Moreover, FAMU will receive $125 million in debt forgiveness as part of the federal coronavirus relief package adopted by Congress, including: $70 million for the FAMU Towers residential housing construction project and $55 million for refinanced housing.
According to FAMU spokesman Andrew Skerrit, this money from the government will greatly offset the cost of building the latest residential halls, FAMU Towers.
“This expansion of the Pell grant program recognizes the immense needs of the students who attend HBCUs. It’s an investment that will pay significant dividends for generations to come,” Robinson said.
This substantial amount of financial support FAMU is receiving will greatly impact the expansion of the university and how it will further assist its students in their academic success.