Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are among the 20 institutions of higher learning on the receiving end of $93 million in grants to support their respective research and development efforts.
The grants were announced Friday by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and are specifically to help “improve completion rates for underserved students,” according to a press release about the funding.
Five HBCUs were collectively given nearly $20 million under the DOE’s Research and Development Infrastructure (RDI) program and the Postsecondary Student Success Grant (PSSG) program. The other 15 colleges were comprised of Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities and other Minority-Serving Institutions.
The HBCUs that were given the grants as described by the DOE follow below:
Hampton University (Virginia) ($4,962,986) to progress to R2 through the establishment of an Interdisciplinary Climate Science Degree Program embedded in a National Center for Climate Modeling Research
Southern University and A&M College (Louisiana) ($4,999,999) to progress to R1 through establishing multidisciplinary research centers focused on advanced manufacturing and biological sciences; executing ambitious faculty hiring and development efforts; reducing teaching loads to increase research time and providing seed funding to catalyze innovation; expanding Ph.D. program offerings in high-demand STEM fields; and implementing efficient grant administration processes to expand its capacity to secure external funding
University of Maryland Eastern Shore (Maryland) ($4,680,568) to progress to R1 through establishing the Futures Institute, which will recruit Ph.D. students, assistant professors, a proficient grant writer, and world-leading scientists to serve as research mentors for faculty and students
Texas Southern University (Texas) ($4,996,543) to progress to R1 through increasing research productivity and innovation; expanding graduate programs; recruiting faculty expertise; building physical research infrastructure; supporting human capital development; and establishing academic and industrial partnerships
Tennessee State University (Tennessee) ($4,946,573) to progress to R1 through the establishment of the Center of Biomedical Sciences to strengthen biomedical and behavioral research capacity and capabilities
“The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes the urgency of this moment in higher education and that creating opportunities for students of color and other underserved students to succeed in today’s most cutting-edge fields has never mattered more,” DOE Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “These grant awards will help many of our nation’s most inclusive and diverse colleges and universities expand their capacity to drive research and innovation, and propel more students to graduation day and fulfilling careers. This is how we Raise the Bar for college excellence and attainment in this country and close equity gaps in higher education that have no place in the 21st century.”
The grants come months after Cardona and Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack wrote letters addressed to 16 governors demanding they invest more money in their states’ land-grant HBCUs to address the historic underfunding of Black colleges.
“Unacceptable funding inequities have forced many of our nation’s distinguished Historically Black Colleges and Universities to operate with inadequate resources and delay critical investments in everything from campus infrastructure to research and development to student support services,” Cardona said at the time.
According to a fact sheet from the DOE, the Biden administration has invested more than $7 billion in HBCUs.
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