Lawmakers Introduce Infrastructural Legislation for HBCUs and It's About Time
Education Politics

Lawmakers Introduce Infrastructural Legislation for HBCUs and It’s About Time

Students participating at the BE SMART HBCU Academy Tech Prep (Black Enterprise)

The push to make the Black experience at HBCUs even better is getting the necessary push in Congress!

The IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act has been presented by a bipartisan panel to improve the structural foundation and support needed for students to continue to thrive in their higher education pursuits.

The panel, Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Rep. French Hill (R-Ariz.) have announced the Institutional Grants for New Infrastructure, Technology, and Education at HBCUs Act (IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act). This legislation would make historic investments in historically Black colleges and universities to rectify over a century of systemic neglect.

“The IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act is the most transformative legislation for Historically Black Colleges and Universities in history,” said Congresswoman Adams, founder, and co-chair of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus in a written statement. “For over 150 years, HBCUs have been agents of equity, access, and excellence in education, despite being ignored and marginalized by federal and state governments. This historic, bipartisan bill changes that. The IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act invests in our HBCU facilities to give students state-of-the-art learning environments and enables HBCUs to continue to be a critical source of diversity in the workforce for another century and beyond.”

RELATED CONTENT: Georgia Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock Secure $84 Million in HBCU Funding

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities open doors to opportunity for thousands of students each year, many of whom come from underserved communities,” said Sen. Tim Scott, co-chair of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus. “For decades, HBCUs have educated and produced top-notch graduates in every field—all while operating on minimal budgets. I can only imagine what more they will accomplish with proper funding, and I am proud that my colleagues and I have come together to support this transformational, bipartisan bill.”

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities have long been institutions advancing equity and academic excellence as they train the future generation of community leaders, innovators, educators, and freedom fighters,” said Sen. Chris Coons, co-chair of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus. “Funding for HBCUs is critical to providing educational resources for low-income students, first-generation college students, and those most at risk of not entering college. HBCUs, like Delaware State University, consistently produce our next leaders, and we must ensure they have the resources to effectively attract students and continue to promote success. The IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act will modernize campuses across the country—ensuring that HBCUs have the technology, facilities, and resources to continue their transformational work.”

“Arkansas is home to four HBCUs and I am pleased to co-lead this bipartisan and bicameral bill with my colleagues to further bolster HBCUs,” said Rep. French Hill, co-chair of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus.”The bipartisan IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act reflects a good faith effort to work across the aisle in order to ensure that HBCUs have a bright future ahead of them so they and their students will continue to succeed.  This measure encourages private philanthropy accompanying public state and federal investments on HBCU campuses to boost their long term competitiveness.”

The IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act invests in infrastructure at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The IGNITE HBCUs Act recognizes the contributions of these institutions in the most important way possible: by affording them the support and investment needed to deepen their transformational work. Specifically, it would authorize funds to:

  • Renovate, repair, modernize, or construct new campus facilities, including instructional, research, and residential spaces;
  • Provide access to campus-wide, reliable high-speed broadband to support digital learning and long-term technological capacity;
  • Develop campus facilities to support community-based partnerships that provide students and community members with academic, health, and social services;
  • Procure equipment and technology needed to facilitate high-quality research and instruction;
  • Preserve buildings with historic significance; and
  • Ensure the resilience, safety, and sustainability of campus facilities.