Trump’s budget cuts promise to HBCU’S

Trump’s budget cuts promise to HBCU’S
April 06
04:50 2017



Have historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in North Carolina been double-crossed by President Donald Trump’s budget?

It was over a month ago when over 80 presidents and chancellors from HBCUs across the country flew to Washington, D.C., to meet President Trump and members of Congress to discuss more federal funding for their institutions.

Leaders came away from those meetings feeling welcomed and cautiously optimistic that they would be seeing greater support from a Republican president and GOP-led Congress than even from President Barack Obama in the past eight years.

But while Congress has yet to put forward its proposed budget, there are already concrete signs from President Trump that his promise, codified with an executive order vowing that HBCUs will be “an absolute priority for this White House,” is really not as “absolute” as first promised.

Indeed, at the same time the HBCU fly-in conference was proceeding, with GOP leaders such as Rep. Mark Walker (R-Guiford-6), South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and even House Speaker Paul Ryan in attendance to reach out to HBCU leaders, The Associated Press was reporting “GOP law-makers said there were currently no concrete plans for increased funding” beyond what the Obama Administration supported.

According to a March 24, story in The Atlantic titled, “How Will Historically Black Colleges Fare Under Trump?” … the Trump administration’s “America First” budget proposal …slices federal education spending by 13.5 percent but claims to “maintain” minority institutions and HBCUs at around $492 million, the same amount the previous administration initially budgeted. But the previous administration added discretionary spending to that figure, and the New America Foundation estimates last year’s sum to be around $577 million –about 15 percent more than $492 million.

U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12), co-chair of the congressional bi-partisan HBCU Caucus, was leery of the Republican outreach then, and clearly felt redeemed about the lackluster results thus far.

“…[T]his administration claimed it is a priority to advocate for HBCUs but, after viewing this budget proposal, those calls ring hollow,” Rep. Adams said in a March 16 statement, also citing “no specific increases for HBCUs.”

“This budget slashes critical funding for institutions, students, and their families, “ she added.

Some HBCU presidents, like Chancellor Elwood Robinson of Winston-Salem State University, are still cautiously holding out hope.

“The president’s budget request is just the first stage of the federal budgeting process,” WSSU’s Chancellor Robinson said in a statement. “As the budget is more fully refined in the House and Senate, we will continue to work with our lawmakers to ensure that they continue to invest in America’s future by keep-ing higher education a priority.”

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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