Black ExperienceEducation

HBCU Funding Conflict Escalates in Senate

A group of bipartisan senators, educators and students are demanding a vote in the aftermath of Congress’ failure to pass a short- or long-term plan to restore funding for the country’s historically Black colleges and universities.

The growing discord comes after more than $250 million in annual mandated funding for HBCUs expired Oct. 1, when the Senate failed to extend it.

The money would pay for campus infrastructure improvements, faculty and curriculum development, and student services, and without them, staff members face layoffs while students would be left to consider transferring.

The situation recently escalated, after the Senate failed to agree on a solution for how to fund HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions. While Democrats had offered a short-term extension that had already cleared the House, Republicans proposed a permanent funding mechanism as part of a larger package of bipartisan higher education proposals.

The dueling legislative strategies, both offered under unanimous consent and objected to on the Senate floor, are the latest developments in an ongoing saga involving the two sides of the aisle, with each hoping the other blinks first.

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