U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) announced on May 13 that they have secured more than $84 million in funding for HBCUs in their state. 

The funds, obtained through the American Rescue Plan, are designated to help students and families who have been especially facing financial hurdles due to the pandemic, the Atlanta Voice reported

Ossoff and Warnock worked with Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to provide the federal COVID-19 relief funds for HBCUs in the form of direct grants. 

“The leadership of these institutions will have significant discretion and flexibility,” Ossoff said during a press conference at Clark Atlanta University. “With respect to the investments that they want to make in facilities Operations, Maintenance and Technology, because the leaders of these institutions know best what they need. We did ensure in the American Rescue Plan act, however, that a full half of this federal support must go to direct assistance for students.”

The American Rescue Plan, which includes $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local, territorial and tribal governments, was signed into law in March, according to the U.S. Department Of The Treasury. 

“We want to thank our legislative partners in Washington D.C and throughout the state of Georgia for the support,” said Fort Valley State Provost Ramon Stuart, who is relieved after his institution received $11,937,555 in grant money. "With funding like this, not only for Fort Valley State University, but the other Historically Black Colleges and Universities, this plays a significant role in helping us keep education affordable.”

Most of the overall grant money will go to Albany State University, which will receive $20,372,363 and allocate $10,538,965 of the total fund to student grants. Other HBCUs which will receive funding include Clark Atlanta, Morehouse College and Spelman College

Warnock, who is a graduate of Atlanta’s Morehouse College, said he knows personally how indispensable Georgia’s HBCUs are to the state’s economy and heritage.

“Our hardworking students have had to navigate the public health and economic challenges of the ongoing pandemic for the past year, and this critical support from the federal government is an important hand up that will help them pursue their education, strengthen our state’s workforce, and keep our economy moving forward," Warnock said. "I cannot wait to see how this funding will help our HBCUs and their students excel today and into the future.”

President Joe Biden, who discussed his plans for higher education in April, called for $600 million to be designated to HBCUs, as well as tribal colleges and universities, other minority-serving institutions and community colleges, Inside Higher Ed reported

“Historically Black colleges and universities are gems in our nation’s system of higher education,” Ossoff said. “Georgia’s HBCUs can count on me to fight for them.”