The two US senators announced the funding on May 13 as part of the American Rescue Plan, The Atlanta Voice reports. To help families struggling due to the economic setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, at least half of the funding must go directly toward grants for student aid.
The American Rescue Plan includes $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local, territorial, and tribal governments, the U.S. Department of The Treasury reports. After President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law in March, Ossoff and Warnock were at the forefront of urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to allocate funds toward HBCUs.
“The leadership of these institutions will have significant discretion and flexibility,” Ossoff said during a May 7th press conference at Clark Atlanta University. “With respect to the investments that they want to make in facilities Operations, Maintenance and Technology, because the leaders of these institutions know best what they need. We did ensure in the American Rescue Plan act, however, that a full half of this federal support must go to direct assistance for students.”
Warnock, a Morehouse College alum, stressed the importance of HBCUs to the state’s economy and culture.
“Our hardworking students have had to navigate the public health and economic challenges of the ongoing pandemic for the past year, and this critical support from the federal government is an important hand up that will help them pursue their education, strengthen our state’s workforce, and keep our economy moving forward,” Warnock said. “I cannot wait to see how this funding will help our HBCUs and their students excel today and into the future.”
Fort Valley State Provost Ramon Stuart praised the funding initiative after his school received $11,937,555 in grant money.
“We want to thank our legislative partners in Washington D.C and throughout the state of Georgia for the support,” Stuart said. “With funding like this, not only for Fort Valley State University, but the other Historically Black Colleges and Universities, this plays a significant role in helping us keep education affordable.”