Statement in support of Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act December 3, 2019
I rise today to join my colleagues during this critical Special Order to underscore the need for Congress to support continued funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). I was honored to support the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act when the House passed this legislation unanimously in September of this year. The FUTURE Act would provide $255 million for Minority-Serving Institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). Unfortunately, despite the unanimous bipartisan support for this bill here in the House, my colleagues in the Senate have blocked this legislation from consideration. This is unacceptable. HBCUs, and all MSIs, deserve our continued support and should not be treated as a political football.
Since 1837, HBCUs have trained generations of African American students and scholars. The economic benefits of HBCUs extend beyond the students they educate. They’re equally important to the local and regional economies served by these institutions. Today, there are nearly 300,000 future scientists, teachers, entrepreneurs and researchers preparing for their professional endeavors at more than 100 HBCUs throughout the country. HBCUs account for 17% of all bachelor’s degrees earned by African Americans and 24% of the degrees earned by African Americans in the STEM fields. HBCUs have an inspiring past and a dynamic present in their unique role of raising up new academic leaders against the legacy of Jim Crow and decades of persistent and systemic racism. Annually, HBCUs support 134,000 jobs and provide $14.8 billion in economic output.
The amazing work done at these schools has also been supported by investments through the Department of Defense, which has helped HBCUs contribute some of the most cutting-edge defense and national security research in the country. To advance these efforts, I introduced an appropriations amendment in the House that would increase the funding level to HBCUs by $4 million above current levels. My amendment, which passed the House on June 19, 2019, the 154th anniversary of Juneteenth, will increase the Department of Defense’s investments in the physical sciences, mathematics and engineering programs at HBCUs and the national security benefits they provide.
As my House colleagues and I continue to urge the Senate to pass the FUTURE Act and my amendment to increase HBCU funding, I will continue to champion our nation’s investments in HBCUs as a critical part of enriching our culture and economy. When HBCUs succeed, America succeeds.