Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, along with Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer and David Trone (all D-Md.), for a roundtable discussion about public education with the presidents of Maryland’s four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Participating in the roundtable were Morgan State University President Dr. David Wilson, Bowie State University President Dr. Aminta Breaux, University of Maryland Eastern Shore President Dr. Heidi Anderson and Coppin State University incoming President Anthony Jenkins. The meeting focused on the unique role of HBCUs and their collective mission of educating Maryland students. The Maryland lawmakers highlighted their ongoing work and support for these leading institutions of higher education.
“Maryland’s four Historically Black Colleges and Universities are uniquely positioned to respond to America’s workforce needs and help the next generation of American leaders acquire the skills and competencies they need to succeed,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “We must invest in Maryland’s HBCUs and empower our students with a world-class education. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Maryland Congressional Delegation to secure robust funding for our state’s HBCUs.”
“Each of Maryland’s four HBCUs empower their students, surrounding communities, and their network of students and alumni,” said Senator Cardin. “We have a responsibility at the federal level to do more to support these institutions so that they can better support their students. Team Maryland will do all we can to help Maryland’s HBCUs succeed.”
“Maryland is home to some of the finest HBCUs in the country, and Team Maryland is proud to represent them,” said Senator Van Hollen. “Today was a great opportunity to learn more about the current needs of our four HBCUs and discuss how we can continue to support them in Congress. Last year, we worked together to reauthorize the FUTURE Act and to secure continued federal investment in our HBCUs. These institutions are vital engines of opportunity, and we will keep fighting to ensure that they remain strong.”
“I appreciated the opportunity to hear directly from our HBCU Presidents about some of the challenges they face and how we can work together to support our students,” said Congressman Hoyer. “As a founding member of the bipartisan HBCU Caucus, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure HBCUs in Maryland and around the nation have the resources they need to succeed.”
"Maryland's four HBCUs are a staple of our community. I am grateful to have Morgan State and Bowie State graduates serving on my staff,” said Congressman Trone. “I was proud sit down with the Presidents of these historic institutions and talk through the resources they need to keep educating Maryland's best and brightest. The Maryland delegation and I will keep working to ensure that HBCUs receive the funding they deserve."
The impact HBCUs have on our communities and our country cannot be understated. They offer a high-quality education for a lower price than other institutions of higher education, and despite only comprising three percent of the total number of American colleges and universities, HBCUs graduate 20 percent of all African American graduates and 25 percent of African American graduates in the STEM fields.
Most recently, the FY2020 Omnibus increased funding for several programs important to HBCUs, including permanent funding authorization for the Title III program, as well as increases for student support services, funding for STEM-related lab equipment, HBCU capital financing, and increases in Pell Grants, Opportunity Grants and Federal Work Study.
Earlier in December 2019, the Delegation worked to enact the FUTURE Act, which permanently reauthorized $255 million in mandatory funding for HBCUs and other Minority Serving Institutions. A temporary lapse in this authorization placed $4.2 million in federal funding for Maryland’s HBCUs at risk.