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Stabenow, Obama Introduce Bill to Assist United Negro College Fund

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Stabenow, Obama Introduce Bill to Assist United Negro College Fund

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Barack Obama (D-IL) today announced legislation that would direct the Treasury Department to mint 350,000 one-dollar coins marking the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. More than a tribute, the bill will assist the United Negro College Fund, which is the nation's largest, oldest, most successful and comprehensive minority higher education assistance organization by allocating all coin proceeds to help fund their scholarship program.

"This is an important tribute to one of the most significant pieces of civil rights legislation in our history, a tribute that will make a real difference by generating resources to help minority students gain better access to higher education," said Stabenow. "This legislation is an important step toward addressing the state of college attendance and graduation rates for African American students."

"Ensuring equal access to education for millions of underrepresented Americans is an important legacy of the civil rights movement," said Senator Obama. "This coin will not only serve as a symbol to remind all Americans of the landmark strides our nation made by passing the Civil Rights Act, but it will lift up African Americans today through its contributions to the United Negro College Fund."

Equality and access to education were two of the hallmarks of the civil rights movement. Since its inception in 1943, the United Negro College Fund has raised more than $2 billion and helped more than 350,000 students attend college. This represents the largest distribution of funds to help minorities attend school by any entity outside of the government.

In Michigan, the on-time graduation rate for African American students is less than half that of the overall rate for high school students. Moreover, the percentage of Michigan high school freshmen enrolling in college within four years is just 38%; the rate for the top states is 53%. This legislation will offer more scholarships to help students get into colleges and remain in colleges.

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