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Biden administration brings HCBU investment to $16 billion

Morehouse College graduating seniors wave to family members before President Barack Obama delivers their commencement address on May 19, 2013, in Atlanta. Total investments in HBCUs has brought the total to $16 billion. UPI/David Tulis
Morehouse College graduating seniors wave to family members before President Barack Obama delivers their commencement address on May 19, 2013, in Atlanta. Total investments in HBCUs has brought the total to $16 billion. UPI/David Tulis | License Photo

May 16 (UPI) -- Ths Biden administration announced a record investment in historically Black colleges and Universities Thursday, bringing the total support to more than $16 billion.

"These historic funding levels demonstrate the Administration's ongoing commitment to HBCUs, which serve as an engine for upward economic mobility in our country," a press release from the White House said. "The Administration is also focused on work to ensure HBCUs have the resources to provide a high-quality postsecondary education."

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HBCUs have been an important part of the educational landscape for 180 years, the White House said, and despite the fact that only 3% of U.S. colleges and universities are HBCUs, they play an "important role in supporting the economic mobility of African Americans," the White House said.

Forty-percent of Black engineers, 50% of all Black teachers, 70% of all Black doctors and dentists, 80% of all Black judges, and the first woman and Black Vice President of the United States are HBCU alumni.

"As a proud graduate of Howard University, I know firsthand that our HBCUs are centers of academic excellence," Vice President Kamala Harris said. "For generations, these anchors of our communities have played a pivotal role in building and contributing to America's leadership at home and abroad."

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HBCUs support nearly five times more students than Ivy League schools in helping people transition from the bottom 40% in U.S. household income to the top 60%, according to social mobility research by the United Negro College Fund.

The Biden administration said the investments in HBCUs are an example of its commitment to investing in advancing racial equality, educational excellence and economic opportunity.

Aside from the standard educational opportunities, the administration said its investment is yielding results in many areas, and offered as one example a 5-year, $90 million investment in a first-of-its-kind HBCU-led University Affiliated Research Center, led by Howard University. The facility will focus on autonomous Air Force technology missions.

The White House also called HBCUs "engines for upward mobility" and a CEA report published Thursday shows that HBCU enrollment has positive effects on bachelor's degree completion and household income later in life.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced awards totaling $5.5 million for HBCUs to improve the production of affordable housing, bolster Black homeownership, advance the use of renewable energy, and serve the infrastructure needs of underserved communities.

HBCUs have achieved this success despite chronic underfunding, the White House said.

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