According to a new report, several HBCUs have been underfunded by at least $12.8 billion over the last three decades.
Forbes reports 18 HBCUs were underfunded by $12.8 billion compared to their white counterparts between 1987 and 2020. For instance, for the past 33 years, Tennessee State University (TSU) received $1.3 billion less than it would have if it were funded at the same amount per student as the University of Tennessee (UT).
While Tennessee State University lacked the resources needed to assist their students, the University of Tennessee created a campus with agricultural research projects, including the scientific studies of the chemistry behind Tennessee whiskey. UT has ten research centers covering over 39,000 acres across the state, while TSU only has 600 acres. TSU spent $2,000 per student on research in 2020, compared to the UT’s $10,000.
Other schools such as North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (NC A&T), an HBCU in Greensboro, North Carolina, have been deemed the most unfunded HBCU in all states.
Forbes reports that over 30+ years, the HBCU has been underfunded by a whopping $2.8 billion, making it the most significant underfunded amount discovered by the magazine.
Florida A&M University ($1.9 billion), Southern University in Louisiana ($1.3 billion), and Prairie View A&M University in Texas ($1.1 billion) rounded out the top five.
Schools in two states—Delaware State University in Delaware and Central State University in Ohio—were not underfunded at all.
Since 1987, North Carolina has underfunded its land-grant HBCU, NC A&T, by at least $2.75 billion (inflation-adjusted), according to a new report from Forbes.— James Smith Walker (@Walk1Smith) February 2, 2022
It’s not the only one. https://t.co/d6jV2p3cVV… pic.twitter.com/3Asu4ymRXf
In 2020, the North Carolina legislature gave NC State, only 7% of its 32,000 students being Black, $79 million for research. By contrast, it gave NC A&T—the nation’s largest HBCU, with 11,700 students—only $9.5 million for research, amounting to 10% of its state funding.
N. Joyce Payne, the founder of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, notes the lack of funding as discrimination.
“We’re talking about the highest level of sanctioned discrimination,” Payne said. “The inequities are embedded and sanctioned by state governments, the federal government, and by private industry. They say to the white schools, you can drive a Bentley, but the Black schools are told they can’t get a car at all.”