COOPER BOOSTS FUNDING FOR HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday approved an amendment by Congressman Jim Cooper that would boost funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Historically Black Graduate Institutions (HBGIs) by $125 million. By voice vote, the House shifted the monies away from administrative and overhead costs and into a fund for HBCUs and HBGIs, increasing their funding level by 40%.
"This is a long overdue shot in the arm for our nation's historically black colleges, universities, and graduate schools," Cooper said after the vote. "I'm proud to represent fine institutions like Fisk University, Tennessee State University, and Meharry Medical College, which will gain access to these much-needed funds. This increase will help schools across the country fulfill their historically vital public service mission for many years to come."
Cooper, who offered the amendment on the House floor yesterday afternoon with Congressman Steve Cohen, noted that HBCUs and HBGIs have seen no funding increases in recent years, and that the small increase provided in the current appropriations bill is a good start, but insufficient. The House is expected to pass the full bill, including Cooper's amendment, later today before sending it to the Senate for approval.
Below is an excerpt from Cooper's remarks as delivered on the House floor:
"These are marvelous, historically black institutions, but today they serve a wide spectrum of people of all races and backgrounds. But most important, so many of these people are first generation college students. They deserve a chance to live the American dream, to become the doctors, the lawyers, the artists, the poets, the engineers, the scientists of the future.
"These institutions serve a vital role in our society. As the gentleman from Memphis [Cohen] pointed out, their funding has essentially been frozen for the last four or five years. To offer them only a 4 or 5 percent increase this year is good, but it's not enough. That's why I think we need to reach deep, to increase the funding substantially, so that they know that the year 2007 was the year in which they saw a dramatic increase, as opposed to the prior years of funding freeze."