Fighting to stay relevant

Posted: April 18, 2008 in HBCU

Battle Over Historically Black Schools

By Ryan Grim Politico

Key members of the Congressional Black Caucus, along with lobbyists for historically black universities, are blocking a bipartisan Senate effort to expand the number of schools eligible to be a Historically Black Graduate Institution.

The HBGI designation comes with both prestige and federal funding, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and other members of Congress are pressing to use the Higher Education Act reauthorization to assign it to several schools, mostly in their home states.

The co-chairmen of the CBC’s education task force, Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.), are actively opposing the effort, arguing that the addition of more grad schools to the HBGI program would diminish the amount of money eligible for those currently receiving funding.

The three organizations that represent the Historically Black Colleges and Universities community are also opposing the effort. The battle between congressional chambers and among competing black schools has led to some serious bad blood, aides and lobbyists said.

“The inclusion of one or two others would open up a new category, and you’d have dozens that become eligible tomorrow afternoon, and we’d have no rational basis to keep them out,” said Scott, who cited the opposition of the United Negro College Fund and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. “There seems to be a pretty good consensus around not expanding the list.”

Scott and Davis said they have nothing against the schools that would be added to the list but want to protect the schools already on it. “You can’t run a good program on $50,000 a year. You can’t do what my mother used to do, which is take one block of chewing gum and give us all a piece. It’s a good idea, but it won’t work,” said Davis. “If we can’t get any [more] money, let’s hold harmless those schools that are in.” (more…)

  1. DarkStar says:

    OK, what the congressmen are doing by creating HBGI category is just plain wrong. States never funded the damn schools properly, now congress wants to further weaken them by expanding the pot.


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