Students Call For Biden To Honor His Billion-Dollar Promise To HBCUs
Biden has talked the talk, but is he walking the walk? See what three college students have to say about his commitment to HBCUs.
January 26, 2022 at 7:57 pm
During his campaign trail, President Biden memorably stated that he would prioritize funding for Historically Black colleges and Universities (HBCUs) once elected.
"Historically Black colleges and Universities have done so much with so little," he said in June 2020. "That's why I propose through the year; I'm going to invest $70 billion."
However, just last month, Biden over-confidentially professed to only donating "$5 billion so far to HBCUs just [in 2021]"—a number well below his $70 billion promise.
"On the campaign, we were hearing upward of $70 to at least $45 billion. And then when we got into office, we had different plans," said Andre M. Perry, a senior research fellow at The Brookings Institution.
To see what HBCU-goers thought about the situation, NBC News correspondent Isa Gutierrez interviewed a handful of students attending Howard University, Alabama A&M, and the University of the District of Columbia (UDC).
Biden promised that his administration would prioritize funding for historically Black colleges and universities. NBC News’ @isagutierreznbc spoke with students at HBCUs to ask them if they think the president followed through. https://t.co/Tl1joBlxTh via @NBCNewsNow
— NBCBLK (@NBCBLK) January 21, 2022
Initially, the students were asked if they felt their respective institutions were underfunded. In response, Howard senior Aniyah Vines stated, "Absolutely."
"I feel like HBCU students are just not prioritized. When it comes to funding on a federal level, and even the way the money's allocated to institutions, the students are thought of less. I'm tired of being put on the backburner," Vines stated.
"We don't have enough qualified, knowledgeable advisers. We want more professors to offer different classes or more classes. We need better funding," agreed Austin Smith, an Alabama A&M senior.
"I didn't believe it from the jump," Vines said. "At the end of the day, this is not the first time that HBCU students and Black people period in America have been given false promises on campaigns."
On the other hand, Smith was more optimistic at first.
"I thought the promise would be kept. [But] we all know how the game is played," he stated.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities have always been the heartbeat of our country’s fight for justice. That’s why I’ll invest $70 billion in HBCUs and Minority-Serving Institutions.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 15, 2020
The group was asked what the Biden Administration could do to turn things around and "do right by HBCUs."
"[Fulfill] that commitment they made to us at the beginning. $43 billion was supposed to be given to Historically Black colleges and Universities," Smith noted.
"For Joe Biden, my expectations are extremely low—grass-level. And with Kamala Harris," Vines began. "What I really what you to do is just hold yourself accountable [for] what you promised on your campaign."
"Just do what you said you were gonna do. I don't want an installment payment of this $43 billion. I want it all up front. Direct deposit, no partial payments," stated Skye Webster, a UDC student. "No 'We'll pay you back in 4 years, reelect Kamala.' No. We're not doing that."