Author: Brennan E. Wells;
This is a Developing Story
The Obama administration has left a sour taste in the mouths of HBCU presidents and advocates alike. To those who would disagree, Politico reports that in May of 2016 that Obama gets mostly failing grades from HBCUs. Some may wonder how could the nations first African-American president fail to adequately support institutions that have as their chief aim in practice the education of African-Americans? That is a question I have myself. Possibly it may be because, former-president Obama believes in the tenants of “a rising tide lifts all boats”, while failing to realize that not all boats were created equal in the United States. But more to the previous point. By 2013, under Obama’s watch the amount of federal money going to higher education increased, yet HBCUs saw a decrease in federal funding by 2.8%.
At the conclusion of Obama’s eight years in office HBCUs saw funding increase by 1.5 billion a year to top off at 4 billion annually. However, we must be mindful that these appropriations have to be shared between 105 institutions. Moreover, due to the Parent Plus Loan crisis, a debacle under Obama’s watch, enrollment at HBCUs declined and to the date of this writing enrollment has not returned to pre Parent Plus Loan crisis levels. A crisis that cost HBCUs as much as 250 million dollars.
Despite these failings President Trump believes he can do better. According to a Buzzfeed report, the White House is working on an executive order to restore HBCUs. African Americans in the Presidents inner circle say his support is badly needed and are advocating that he move to act. President Trump is quoted in saying that, “he was shocked and upset to learn what happened under the previous administration”. On an aside, the yard stick that will be used to measure HBCUs will be Howard University, because when asked what is “the Harvard” of HBCUs Howard’s name was mentioned. Another example of the bias Howard holds over the HBCU community.
Black America must be mindful and aware, that even though word is spreading of the President’s anticipated action to support HBCUs, this is an administration akin to a roller coaster ride and this emphasis on HBCUs may just be good feelings while America Black History Month. With this in mind we must strike while the iron is hot and “get while the gettin is good”.
Details about the pending Executive Order are scarce, but the word around town is that Omarosa (Howard Alum) is working on an Executive Order for President Trump to sign. Omarosa restates the President’s support for HBCUs as a commitment, so we will at the present time have to wait and pressure (lobby) the rest of Congress to act in kind with President Trump to support Black America’s HBCUs.
This is a developing with more to come in the near future.