On RushmoreDrive.com, blogger Nsenga Burton is pointing out that President Barack Obama is under fire for cutting 85 million dollars in “extra” funding from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
It seems Obama’s education budget included major spending increases, but didn’t include an extra $85 million that black institutions have received annually for the past two years because of a 2007 change to the student loan laws.
“Folks are up-in-arms about this slap in the face to HBCUs, suggesting that President Barack Obama should support institutions whose funding has historically been poor in spite of recent high-profile cases of financial mismanagement (Texas Southern University, Morris Brown, Benedict College and Barber-Scotia), scandalous partnerships (Bishop Eddie Long’s “unauthorized!” NCCU satellite campus operating in Atlanta) and low graduation rates (only 37% graduate within a 6-year academic period).
As someone who taught at an HBCU for 5 years, I understand the peculiar challenges facing HBCUs, which is why the funding is needed. Many of these schools have been operating on shoestring budgets for years and need all of the financial support that they can get. HBCUs give many students that society has either thrown away or given up on an opportunity to pursue a higher education, which reflects the mission of most of these colleges and universities. More academic preparatory resources are needed at some HBCUs.
As I have written before, HBCUs cannot continue to count on the government for funding. In December of last year, a Georgia State Senator suggested that an HBCU consider joining with a majority institution in order to streamline government costs. Black folks went berserk. We can’t keep asking the government for money, rebuffing attempts at lowering costs, and telling them to mind their business on top it. With endowments that pale in comparison to mainstream universities, HBCU administrators continue to be the highest paid administrators in the country. Conventional wisdom would suggest that something has to change, and if it doesn’t, funding directly to the universities will decrease and eventually some HBCUs will be forced to merge with mainstream universities in order to survive or fold.”
Hmm, this is starting to sound even MORE interesting than we thought. Read the rest of Burton’s comments HERE.