Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Federal Spending for HBCUs Is Up: Agencies from the CIA to the Veterans Administration Increase Grants, Fellowships and Gifts

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Federal Spending for HBCUs Is Up: Agencies from the CIA to the Veterans Administration Increase Grants, Fellowships and Gifts

Article excerpt

Federal grant, training and recruiting

spending directed at historically

Black colleges and universities

jumped by 21 percent in a two-year, period,

according to government figures in a

soon-to-be released report.

Led by sharp increases in research

spending by the Central Intelligence

Agency, in training grants by the Departments

of Veterans Affairs and Commerce

and in teaching endowments by the

Department of Energy, federal agencies

spent $1.24 billion in fiscal 1995, compared

to $1.03 billion in fiscal 1992.

The figures were compiled for a report

to be issued to President Clinton in

September by officials of the White House

Initiative on Historically Black Colleges

and Universities.

The numbers are a measure of the response

of federal agencies to what has become a

traditional presidential directive to increase

federal support of HBCUs.

President Clinton's Nov. 1, 1993 executive

order renewing a directive first issued by

President Jimmy Carter is sure to be claimed as a

dramatic manifestation of the administration's

commitment to Black institutions.

Although he has not seen the initiative's

report yet, the rise in spending was applauded by

Dr. Henry Ponder, president of the National

Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher

Education (NAFEO).

"The Clinton administration has been a

friend to HBCUs. More is needed but this is a

strong start," Ponder said.

Much of the increase comes from

spending by agencies with little historic contact

with HBCUs.

One of the most dramatic manifestations of

the increase in federal spending on HBCUs is in

the Central Intelligence Agency's contacts with

Black schools.

CIA spending at HBCUs rose from $1.1

million in fiscal 1992 to $5.8 million in fiscal

1995. Much of that big jump was accounted for

in an increase in donation of excess equipment

to the colleges. The hardware included

photocopiers, computers and office furniture.

In addition, the agency has let Black

colleges and universities in on classified and

unclassified research contracts. Prairie View

A&M University (TX) was awarded $750,000

in contracts over the last two years for

engineering projects for the CIA, according to

government officials.

The agency also uses its summer fellows

program as part of its drive to connect with

HBCUs in a recruiting program for agency

employees. Agency employees also serve in

teaching posts on campuses.

The nearly tripling of the Department of

Energy's spending on HBCUs includes the

endowment of nine engineering professor posts

at Black colleges and universities with

engineering departments at $1 million per

school.

The DOE increase from $21 million in

fiscal 1992 to $59 million in fiscal 1995 is part

of the sharp increase in spending by the federal

science and technology sector on Black

campuses.

"What I have been most impressed by is

that every agency has engaged in extensive

outreach," said Catherine LeBlanc, director of

the White House Initiative on Historically

Black Colleges and Universities.

"The schools with engineering departments

and science and tech departments have led the

way in getting research dollars," she said.

She noted that federal agencies that

have traditionally had little connection

with HBCUs are now turning to them

for work.

She noted, for instance, the National

Aeronautical and Space, Administration

has contracted with Alabama

A&M University for research on

controlling I bacteria" in

drinking water on the spaceshuttle;

Morehouse's School of Medicine is

working on a Health and Human

Services contract studying low birth-weight

children in low-income communities;

and that Texas Southern

University is engaged in an AIDS

project aimed at education and infection

prevention for health care

professionals. …

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