WASHINGTON – Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Wednesday that the Trump Administration is dedicated to providing funds to Historically Black Colleges and Universities amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The success of all students is a priority for this administration, and we’re excited to celebrate HBCU week,” DeVos said at a meeting Wednesday with the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs.
HBCUs provide a unique academic experience for Black students and have been beneficial to the success of underrepresented communities. As racial injustice remains at the forefront of public discourse, the vitality of these institutions remains critical for Black students.
DeVos’s department allocated additional funding of nearly $1.4 billion for these schools in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Like many institutions, the COVID-19 pandemic has also hurt the financial stability of students. Government assistance through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act has helped stabilize HBCU’s support for low-income students during the current financial crisis.
Despite the additional aid, some feel like the funding is not enough.
“Our students could have used more money,” said David Page, vice president of enrollment management at Dillard University.
Page said that 98 percent of their students receive some form of financial aid and assistance through the CARES act, which was disbursed at the peak of the pandemic. The New Orleans based HBCU has an enrollment of 1,200 and received $1.2 million from the CARES Act, in which 1,100 students received emergency assistance.
The U.S. Department of Education provided universities and colleges in America with a total of $6.28 billion in immediate relief following the coronavirus pandemic.
The government’s assistance highlights the necessity of HBCUs in the Black community to help students bridge the gap.
“HBCUS are safe havens for students to pursue education without having to go through all the isms, particularly racism that plagues our country at this time,” said Page. “At an HBCU you are going to be taught that you can achieve; you are going to be taught that you are the head and not the tail; you are going to be taught that you are a young person who can make a change in our world.”