Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

HBCUs Get Few R&D Dollars, Leaders Say. (Washington Update)

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

HBCUs Get Few R&D Dollars, Leaders Say. (Washington Update)

Article excerpt

The share of federal research dollars flowing to Black colleges is going down instead of up, says one HBCU leader who is urging Congress to focus more attention on the issue.

Of the $14 billion awarded government-wide to colleges and universities for research and development, less than 1 percent--or $164 million--is going to historically Black colleges, says Dr. Frederick Humphries, president of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Education (NAFEO).

Worse yet, the dollars to HBCUs are going down, Humphries told a House Education and the Workforce subcommittee in February. Using National Science Foundation (NSF) data, Humphries said the $164 million is below the $202 million HBCUs received in 1995 and the $188 million allotted in 1996.

"It is imperative that Congress hold those agencies charged with managing the nation's science and technology agenda accountable in how they distribute resources and engage HBCUs in their activities," Humphries said.

Even NSF, with $1.9 billion going to colleges, offered relatively little to Black colleges. About 2 percent of these dollars went to HBCUs, despite a federal mandate that calls on the science agency to refrain from "undue concentration" of funding among certain sectors of higher education.

One way to address these imbalances is to fund a small NSF program designed to improve the competitive research capacity of HBCUs that offer doctoral degrees in science, Humphries said. Congress provided $2.6 million for this small program for 2002, but the Bush administration budget plan would include no additional funding.

"Even more disturbing are the budget recommendations that would either level, reduce or destroy funding for almost every HBCU-specific program at almost every federal agency engaged in national R&D efforts," Humphries said.

The NAFEO leader also urged Congress to approve new legislation to support historic preservation at HBCUs. …

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