Officials at several historically Black colleges and universities across the country are becoming increasingly worried that the White House will not follow through on its promise to provide substantial federal funding. The apprehension that many HBCU leaders feel stems from President Joe Biden's "American Jobs Plan." Initially, Biden's proposal allocated $10 billion for research and development at HBCUs and $15 billion for the formation of 200 research incubators at HBCUs. More recently, Biden met with a group of Senators to develop a bipartisan version of the proposal. According to Francesca Chambers of The Herald Sun, the latest version of the proposal no longer mentions HBCUs.
“I think that all of us are wondering what the specifics will be in the American Jobs Plan, the compromised version,” Lodriguez Murray of the United Negro College Fund said.
Congressional critics of the Biden proposal have argued that portions of the plan are not related to infrastructure. The Biden administration appears to be aware of those critiques from Republican Senators and they are working to reshape their strategy. Senior Adviser Cedric Richmond has attempted to explain the Biden administration's plan moving forward. The former congressman says that portions of "The American Jobs Plan" will be combined with "The American Families Plan." Ultimately, he feels confident that HBCUs will receive the billions of dollars in funding that they need to operate.
“It’s two tracks. Some things are moving from the jobs plan to the families plan. And when we talk about education, that’s absolutely one,” Richmond said during a recent interview.
To address the concerns presented by many HBCU leaders, Richmond met with members of the UNCF last week to discuss the Biden administration's strategy. After the meeting, Murray said that the White House's goals appear to be "in alignment" with those of the UNCF.
“I think that we have a strong chance of making our way into any number of packages,” Murray added.