Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

U.S. Congressmen Urge More Federal Support for HBCUs

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

U.S. Congressmen Urge More Federal Support for HBCUs

Article excerpt

Building preservation, financial aid, main topics at town hall meeting


Historic preservation of buildings on historically Black college campuses and increased financial aid for students were the main topics at a recent town hall meeting on the future of HBCUs.

The meeting, held on the campus of Grambling State University, was attended by several U.S. congressmen, including Rep. Rodney Alexander, D-La.; Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., chair of the House Democratic Leader's African American Workgroup (LAAW); Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chair of the Congressional Black Caucus; and Rep. Chris John, D-La.

The meeting was held to discuss the future of HBCUs and the need for raising the level of financial support for students at these schools. At Grambling, for example, about 95 percent of the students receive some form of financial aid. Participants also noted that federal funding is needed to repair many of the buildings on HBCU campuses.

"The main thing was to make sure that people there knew that they have five buildings on the Grambling campus that are eligible for federal funds because they could be designated as historical preservation buildings," said Alexander whose Congressional district includes the historically Black university.

A White Democrat, Alexander received heavy Black voter support last fall to help overcome a Republican opponent whose campaign was bolstered with visits from President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Midway through his first term, Alexander is working with the CBC to obtain additional funding to help fix up historical buildings that have fallen into disrepair on HBCU campuses across the country.

The CBC is hoping to get $10 million in next year's federal budget to help restore the historical buildings. The money would be dispersed in the form of grants that would require a 30 percent match. …

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