By The Associated Press

A long-running lawsuit over program disparities between four historically black colleges and traditionally white ones would be settled for $580 million over 10 years, under legislation introduced Feb. 6 by Maryland’s House speaker. 

The measure would create a special fund for four historically Black colleges and universities, House Speaker Adrienne Jones said.

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The 13-year-old federal lawsuit alleged the state had underfunded the institutions while developing programs at traditionally white schools that directly compete with and drain prospective students away from HBCUs. In 2013, a federal judge recommended mediation after finding the state had maintained “a dual and segregated education system” that violated the Constitution. 

The money would be used for five areas of support. They include establishing new programs and investing in existing under-enrolled programs. The funds also would be used to invest in more scholarships and financial aid programs, as well as recruiting new faculty and training faculty. The money also would go toward providing more academic support to students and marketing new and under-enrolled programs.