UNCF Lauds Congress for Increased Funding for HBCUs, Low-Income, First-Gen Students - Higher Education
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UNCF Lauds Congress for Increased Funding for HBCUs, Low-Income, First-Gen Students

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Leaders from the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) are applauding the recent passing of the Conference Report to H.R. 6157, the Departments of Defense and Labor; Health and Human Services; and Education Appropriations Act of 2019.

UNCF president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax said organization officials are “thrilled” with the bill’s appropriation outcome, according to a news release.

Dr. Michael Lomax

“We have worked tirelessly with this Congress and administration to emphasize the needs of the historically black colleges and universities and the low-income, first generation college students we serve,” Lomax said. “The federal support our institutions and students receive is integral to ensuring each student’s fair opportunity to achieve his or her dreams to get to and through college.”

Significant funding increases outlined in the bill for HBCUs and low-income, first-generation college students include:

-Strengthening HBCUs: $282,420,000 ($2,796,000 above FY2018 enacted level);
HBCU Professional and Graduate Institutions: $73,037,000 ($723,000 above FY2018 enacted level);

-HBCU Capital Financing Program: $40,484,000, with $20,000,000 specifically to defer loans ($10,000,000 above FY2018 enacted level);

-Federal Pell Grants: $5,135 in discretionary funding and $6,195 for the total annual award. ($100 per student above FY2018 enacted level);

-Master’s Degree Programs at HBCUs: $8,657,000 ($86,000 above FY2018 enacted level);
Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program: $11,135,000 ($110,000 above FY2018 enacted level);

-Federal TRIO programs: $1.06 billion ($50,000,000 above FY2018 enacted level);
GEAR UP: $360 million ($10,000 above FY2018 enacted level); and

-Public Service Loan Forgiveness: $350 million set aside for students to award student loan forgiveness and $2.3 million set aside for outreach efforts.

Calling the bill “a huge win” for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), UNCF officials announced that a total of $20 million allocated to the HBCU Capital Financing program will support institutions that are eligible for deferments on their capital financing loan.

Eligible institutions include Benedict College, Bennett College, Florida Memorial University, Huston-Tillotson University, Philander Smith College, Saint Augustine’s University, Shaw University, Stillman College, Virginia Union University, Voorhees College, Wilberforce University, Wiley College and Arkansas Baptist College.

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