President Obama has taken criticism from the black community for his indifference toward HBCUs, but now that indifference has turned to hostility, claims JL Carter Sr. in HBCU Digest.
As Carter notes, when the Obama administration handed out grants geared toward minority students, the lion’s share of those dollars were given to predominately white institutions:
The Department of Education last week appropriated more than $171 million to colleges and universities nationwide to bolster college access and equity for low-income and minority students. Several dozens of colleges and universities received First in the World grants to increase S.T.E.M. professional development for minorities, or smaller grants aimed at supporting Alaskans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, African-Americans and Hispanics.
Of those dozens, just three HBCUs – Fayetteville State University, Hampton University and Prairie View A&M University, collectively received just over $3 million in federal support. Hampton’s FITW grant accounted for $3.5 million, while FSU and PVAMU received less than $250,000 each.
Although Obama talks a good game where HBCUs are concerned, he’s begun dismantling them, piece by piece, dollar by dollar:
But the president couldn’t hide his coolness towards HBCUs for long. Before his first term could end, his Department of Education orchestrated and authorized the great Pell Grant/PLUS Loan debacle of 2011. Two years later, he announced plans to tie federal aid funding to a new rating system, one which will punish schools for low graduation rates, student loan defaults, alumni employment rates, and other measures which fly in the face of the HBCU mission and profile.
As BreakingBrown reported in 2013, HBCU advocates are so frustrated that several threatened to sue the Obama administration in 2013.
The New Republic explained the importance of HBCUs in the black community: “HBCUs constitute three percent of America’s colleges but produce 20 percent of black graduates, 50 percent of black public school teachers and lawyers, 80 percent of black judges, and 90 percent of black BA’s in STEM fields.”