Maryland Senators among Democrats calling out Senate GOP for holding up HBCU funding

Nov 7, 2019

Maryland's senators are calling out the Senate for holding up millions of dollars in funding for HBCUs in Maryland and around the country.  The funding for the historically black colleges and universities expired after September 30th because the Senate failed to pass it.  Senator Chris Van Hollen says the state's four HBCUs ( Morgan State University, Coppin State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and Bowie State University) collectively stand to lose over four-million dollars per year.  The funding has passed in the House, but is being held up by Republicans in the Senate, who say they want to address the funding in an update of the Higher Education Act.

Van Hollen, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), joined a group of his Senate colleagues in a new push to pass funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs). In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senators called for the immediate passage of Senator Jones’ bipartisan FUTURE Act legislation, which would reauthorize $255 million per year in mandatory federal funding – which expired on September 30, 2019 – for an additional two years. The House of Representatives approved the legislation unanimously in September.

“HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs are an essential component of America’s higher education and workforce development system,” the Senators wrote. “Given the importance of this funding to hundreds of institutions and millions of students, we request that the Senate delay no longer and take up the bipartisan FUTURE Act  immediately to avoid permanent damage to our nation’s historic colleges.”

Van Hollen was joined in sending the letter by fellow Democrats:

Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

Full text of the letter is below and a pdf is available here: