May 11
10:00 2017

Trump’s HBCU statement is stunningly careless and divisive

To the Editor:

In his signing statement on the Omnibus appropriations bill,[President] Trump signaled that he may not implement construction funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities due to sup-posed constitutional concerns.

Trump’s statement is not only misinformed factually, it is not grounded in any serious constitutional analysis.  For a President who pledged to reach out to African-Americans and other minorities, this statement is stunningly careless and divisive.

We urge him to reconsider immediately.

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), 

Ranking Member on the House 

Judiciary Committee 

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), 

Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus

Washington, D.C.

Note: In a signing statement issued on May 5th concerning the omnibus spending bill, Donald Trump indicated he may no longer fund a decades old program that helps finance construction projects for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, asserting they  “allocate benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender,” and that his administration would treat those programs “in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the law under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.”’

Trump’s signing statement singles out HBCUs in troubling way

To the Editor:

I am surprised and troubled by President Trump’s signing statement on the FY17 omnibus, which specifically singled out our historically black colleges and universities. His statement stands in stark contrast to his original commitment to our HBCUs, and the executive order he signed in keeping with that commitment. Any action taken to weaken the HBCU Capital Financing Program would undermine their financial stability, harming both students and alumni alike.

The Capital Financing Program provides needed infrastructure funding for our HBCUs that suffer from a dearth of resources from both the public and private sectors. Rather than singling it out, we need to come together as Democrats and Republicans to enhance the program’s effectiveness, ensuring that HBCUs are able to continue accessing low cost financing for their campuses.

I introduced the bipartisan HBCU Capital Financing Improvement Act, with my colleague Representative Bradley Byrne, to boost these institutions’ ability to do just that.

The president needs to keep his word and prioritize supporting these important institutions. The economic prospects of hundreds of thousands of Americans depends on it.

U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12) 


Fund applauds Trump, Congress for support in FY’17 budget

To the Editor:

On behalf of our 47 member-schools, Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) extends its gratitude to the 115th Congress and the Trump administration for supporting HBCU funding in the FY’17 budget.

In addition, we are pleased by their commitment to funding year-round Pell [Grants] for the remaining five months of this year. Access to these additional resources will allow the 259,128 students, at TMCF member-schools, 75 percent of which receive Pell, to graduate within a shorter period of time and with less debt.

We are pleased the FY’17 Omnibus Appropriations Bill maintains level funding for most of the key programs and budget lines impacting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and we view that as a win for HBCUs. We are pleased the 115th Congress increased funding for the following programs:

*Title VI, Masters Degree Program received $7.5 million in new discretionary funding, a program that has not been funded since 2014.

*HBCU Capital Financing Program’s loan subsidies were level funded at $20 million, however, the new loan volume was reduced to $282 million, down from $302 million in FY’16.

*TRIO program received a funding increase to $950 million, up from $900 million in FY’16.

*GEAR Up program received a funding increase to nearly $340 million, up from $323 million in FY’16.

TMCF’s advocacy is not over; we are still focusing on the FY’18 budget.

TMCF’s direct advocacy with the White House has also ensured year-round Pell funding in the Trump Administration’s FY’18 budget request to be released later this month. It would have been reprehensible for students to have access to year-round Pell, and once again, have it snatched away from them before they complete their college education. This is another win for the entire Black College Community.

We look forward to continued bipartisan engagement with the Congress for the final FY’18 budget, and this administration to ensure our nation’s Historically Black College and Universities survive and thrive.

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President & CEO

Thurgood Marshall College Fund

Washington, D.C.

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