WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.) today announced the Senate passage of his legislation to permanently renew funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs). The legislation also includes a first step toward simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process. Annual funding for MSIs expired on September 30, 2019.
“This is wonderful news for students and faculty at minority-serving institutions across the country, including the 13 schools in Alabama that receive this annual funding. After their funding expired in September this year, they can finally breathe a sigh of relief now that the Senate has passed a permanent renewal that will allow them to plan for the future for years to come,” said Senator Doug Jones, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. “Importantly, this legislation will also take a long-overdue first step toward simplifying the FAFSA application and removing barriers for students across the country who want to achieve their dream of a college education. This is an example of the kinds of important goals we can achieve when both sides reach across the aisle to find common ground.”
“Without question, Title III, Part-F funding is of material importance to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs),” said Harry L. Williams, President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF). “This bi-partisan agreement to renew Title III, Part-F, assuming that the legislation is subsequently passed by the House of Representatives and signed into law by President Trump, means that Alabama’s HBCUs will not suffer the loss of over $8 million in annual federal funding that is used to support these institutions’ respective missions; a result that is both consequential for our schools and, more importantly, their deserving students. TMCF greatly appreciates the leadership Senator Jones has taken throughout this process and for being a committed partner in ensuring that this critically-important, mandatory funding for HBCUs was not lost to history.”
“We have yet another reason to be thankful this season,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. “We thank the thousands of HBCU advocates who took action through our digital campaign as well as Senators Doug Jones and Tim Scott, who are always essential in our work and who joined so many to speak up when HBCUs needed them most. Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray also now have another in a long list of bipartisan compromises and joint effort for which they can take credit. This permanent funding solution, which would stave off unnecessary cuts for our institutions, will allow HBCUs to continue fostering innovation and inspiring future leaders in the STEM disciplines—and that helps our nation.”
“In a rare showing of bipartisanship in the 116th Congress that has been hamstrung by bitter partisanship, Senator Jones and his colleagues Senators Alexander, Murray and others, who recognize the centrality of HBCUs and MSIs to the security, strength, peace, progress, excellence, inclusivity, and global standing of America, led the Senate to act on their understanding of the Nation’s tremendous loss if these equal educational opportunity institutions are not strong and do not realize their full potential,” said Lezli Baskerville, President of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO).
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