HBCUs have always been underfunded, but we now know how much money they are owed – $12 billion.
Yesterday, the U.S. Departments of Education and Agriculture sent letters to 16 governors of states with land-grant HBCUs, calculating the funding disparity between 1987 and 2020.
“Unacceptable inequities in funding have forced many of our nation’s historically Black colleges and universities to operate with insufficient resources and delay critical investments in everything from campus infrastructure to research and development. development through student support services,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
With 19 land-grant HBCUs across the country, the lack of funding impacts everything from building repairs to academic tutoring services.
Cardona and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack emphasized in each letter that under the Second Morrill Act of 1890, states opening land-grant universities to serve black students were required to provide an equitable distribution of public funds to institutions founded between 1862 and 1890. However, of the 18 states with HBCUs, only two – Delaware and Ohio – follow the law.
To calculate the $12 billion disparity, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Survey (IPEDS) compared HBCU budgets in the remaining 16 states to predominantly white institutions that existed in 1862.
“Some of the brightest minds and most impactful advances in food and agriculture have taken root in our nation’s 1,890 land-grant universities, and I am incredibly proud of the partnership that the USDA maintains relationships with these invaluable institutions. We need governors to help us invest in their states’ HBCUs at the equitable level that their students deserve and that reflects their full contribution to our society and economy,” Vilsack said.
Cardona and Vilsack expressed in the letters that governors should not cut funding to other institutions in their states to fill funding gaps for land-grant HBCUs.
Underfunded by billions
North Carolina and Florida have underfunded their HBCUS more severely than other states. North Carolina A&T State University, an HBCU in Greensboro, has a $2 billion funding disparity, the letter said.
Read more: Edward Waters University: 7 HBCU Facts in Jacksonville, Florida.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, an HBCU in Tallahassee, has a funding disparity of $1.9 billion. This comes on the heels of FAMU students recently filing a class-action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in state funding, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
“Long-standing and continued underinvestment in Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University disadvantages the students, faculty, and community the institution serves,” according to the letter. “Additionally, it could contribute to a lack of economic activity that would ultimately benefit Florida.” We look forward to working together to rebuild this institution after decades of underfunding.
Here’s how the 1,890 HBCUs in each 16 states were underfunded, according to letters from the secretaries:
Alabama – Alabama A&M University
Arkansas- University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
Florida – Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Georgia – Fort Valley State University
Kentucky – Kentucky State University
Louisiana – Southern University and A&M College
$1.1 billion each
Maryland- University of Maryland East Coast
Mississippi – Alcorn State University
Missouri- Lincoln University
Oklahoma – Langston University
Caroline from the south – South Carolina State University
Tennessee – Tennessee State University
Texas – Prairie View A&M University
Virginia – Virginia State University
West Virginia – West Virginia State University