Calling for congressional action now; bill is “necessary” for HBCUs’ growth and development

By Black PR Wire

UNCF has come out in full support of the revamped HBCUs IGNITE Excellence Act, H.R. 8803. This bill is the most important single piece of legislation for HBCUs before this Congress, and it must be passed by both the House and Senate prior to adjournment.

The bill would require the U.S. Department of Education to disperse grants for constructing new campus buildings, expand broadband access, and acquire research and instruction equipment specifically at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and qualifying minority-serving institutions (MSIs), such as Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions.

“Congress must act now. HBCUs are too vitally important to our nation’s success, but systemic issues have made it so that our institutions need major help with improving and updating their facilities,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF.

“The GAO has studied this issue. UNCF and all HBCUs have studied this issue. We have the data. To say that we believe the time for Congress to act to pass funding—grants, not loans—to help HBCUs would be an understatement. This bill is critical and must be passed before Congress adjourns. HBCUs are producing graduates that change the world and bolster the economy now but imagine what they could do with updated equipment, improved facilities and cutting-edge technology.”

“For the Congressional Tri-Caucus to endorse this bill is huge,” said Lodriguez V. Murray, senior vice president, Public Policy and Government Affairs, UNCF. “To reach consensus among all the groups representing African American, Hispanic and Asian members of Congress means that this bill has broad appeal and support. It also means that the time is now for Democrats and Republicans to join us and pass this bill, just as they worked together to pass the FUTURE Act in 2019.

“While we are in homecoming season, we need everyone who supports their HBCUs to go to our website, and in less than 15 seconds write their members of Congress,” continued Murray. “This is the way we can make significant change on our campuses and improve our facilities. We must act now to ensure Congress acts now.”

The earlier version of the bill, H.R. 3294, is co-sponsored by 218 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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