Tuesday, October 29, 2019

President Donald J. Trump addressed the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges

On September 10th, President Donald J. Trump addressed the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) 2019 Conference in Washington, DC. This was the first time a U.S. President has addressed the HBCU Conference.

In President Trump's remarks, he highlighted not only the great work being championed by his administration for our Historically Black Colleges and Universities (see below for some reminders), but the greater body of work to lift up our communities including criminal justice reform, opportunity zones, workforce development and the economy.

He also announced another action being taken to protect HBCUs and other faith-based institutions. Recently, the US Department of Justice published an option declaring discriminatory restrictions unconstitutional that 40 faith-based HBCUs and seminaries previously faced denying them full access to federal support for capital improvement projects.

In addition, President Trump issued a proclamation declaring September 8- 14, 2019 as National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week, and proclaimed September 9, 2019, as the Inaugural National HBCU Colors Day.

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities was established in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan, setting into motion a government wide effort to strengthen our nation’s HBCUs. I hope you will take time to learn more about the White House Initiative on HBCUs.

Meet the Team Leading the Efforts with our HBCUs:

From left to right: Johnny C. Taylor, Chairman, President's Board of Advisors on HBCUs; Johnathan Holifield, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs; and Dr. Leonard Haynes, Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary, US Dept. of Education

Barely a month after taking office, President Trump signed Executive Order 13779 – White House Initiative to Promote Excellent and Innovation at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (the earliest any President has signed an HBCU Executive Order).

President Trump directed agencies across his Administration to develop plans to enhance their support for HBCUs.

Under President Trump, over $300 million worth of debt was eliminated for HBCU’s that have been impacted by natural disasters.

President Trump has signed legislation increasing Federal funding for HBCUs.
The President signed legislation that added more than $100 million for scholarships, research, and centers of excellence at HBCU land grant institutions.

Under President Trump, in collaboration with Congress, HBCUs have seen a significant increase in investment $45 million thru Title III Funding: 

$35 million increase in the Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program ($279.6 million);

$9 million increase in the Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions ($72.3 million);

 $1 million increase in the Strengthening HBCU Masters Programs ($8.6 million);

Meaningful increases investments in student support like Pell Grants, Federal Work Study, and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG); and

Increases in Howard University’s annual appropriation by nearly $11 million, bringing its fiscal year 2018 investment level to $232.5 million.

Under the Trump Administration, The White House Initiative on HBCUs launched the HBCU Competitiveness Scholars.  

The induction of the 2019 class included Sixty-three students from 54 HBCUs.  These Scholars include undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who were selected based on their academic achievement, campus and civic involvement, and entrepreneurial ethos or “go-getter” spirit.

The Trump Administration relaunched the HBCU Capital Finance Board to make millions of dollars available to support HBCUs’ long-term growth and improvement - positioning these institutions to deliver even more value to their students.

The Administration has announced that any restrictions on those funds going to institutions with a religious mission is unconstitutional.

Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has demonstrated her support of HBCUs by:

Donating her salary to the Thurgood Marshall Foundation (TMF);

Removing and reforming onerous regulations harmful to HBCUs, including borrower’s defense; and

Advocating for and implementing the expansion of Pell grants eligibility to include low-income students attending classes all year; and increasing the maximum student award.

The Administration is rethinking college by reducing regulatory burdens, promoting innovation, strengthening accountability, and respecting the unique mission of each school.

President Trump's emerging prosperity agenda includes Opportunity Zones, American Innovation, workforce development, and urban revitalization. 

Compiled by the Republican National Committee