NAFEO President Baskerville Urges President Biden to Include Aspirational Goal for ALL Federal Departments and Agences to Invest More In HBCUs Until Investments in HBCUs are on Par with the HWCU Counterparts
Every American President since Jimmy Carter has issued an Executive Order on HBCUs in recognition of the Nation’s failure to invest a fare share of federal dollars in HBCUs: in contracts, grants, internships, sponsored programs, and cooperative agreements. To remedy the underfunding, most Executive Orders on HBCUs have required the federal departments, agencies, and offices to develop and implement strategic plans to increase investments in HBCUs. Only one President to date, President Ronals Reagan, included as aspirational numeric goal.
With President Biden’s recognition of the value of HBCUs, their discriminatory treatment at the hands of government, resulting in their under-funding, and acknowledging also the central role HBCUs are playing and must continue to play in developing human potential, and closing the education, employment, entrepreneurial, economic, wealth, health, sustainability and justice gaps in America,
that the Biden Administration: (1) require every federal department and agency to establish strategic plans with quantifiable objectives for increasing investments in HBCUs, and to measure and report annual progress under the plans to the President, Vice President, Congress, HBCU chief executives, and the executives of the national HBCU advocacy associations; and (2) establish an annual 5% aspirational goal for increasing federal contracting, grant-making, sponsored programs, research awards, and other investments in HBCUs until such time as they have attained parity with the average federal investments in other American colleges and universities relative to their missions and their outcomes.
NAFEO believes that the goal for increasing federal investments in HBCUs is especially needed at this time because IPEDS data from recent years indicate federal agency and departmental investments in HBCU have declined from $2,438,557,058 in 2010 to $1,963,328,814, according to an October 2016 report of the Chairman of the President’s Board of Advisers on HBCUs. In the absence of aspirational goals for increasing investments in people and institutions that have been denied equitable investments, the investments generally fail to occur.
Greater investments in HBCUs should occur because their returns are proportionately higher relative to Black and other diverse, under-represented populations—the growing populations of the Nation-than investments in other institutions While comprising only 3 percent of the nation’s four-year colleges and universities, HBCUs are leading the way in educating African American graduates in scientific, technological, physical, mental, and spiritual health professions. They are graduating 53% of Blacks in Agriculture, 50% of Blacks in Communications technology, 50% in education, and 46% of Black women in STEM. They are graduating disproportionate percentages of African Americans and Blacks in other fields required for a strong and competitive economy, a peaceful and just economy. The fifteen HBCU 2-year colleges are preparing diverse students for growth and high need disciplines in the workforce. They are preparing disproportionate percentages of Blacks for certificates and licenses in STEM and health professions, and will play a central role in putting American back to work, if invested in commensurate with their graduation of woefully underrepresented populations and growing populations. They are located in many of the most distressed communities in the nation, with the highest unemployment. They serve as resources and beacons of hope for these communities. The 2-year HBCUs are also assisting those who are in the workforce as well as returning war veterans to retool and leverage their experiences and service to make America strong, peaceful, and just.