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Politics & Government

Coons, Allen seek higher ed funding during HBCU week

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Delawareans are playing a big role in pushing for more federal funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

 

It’s HBCU week, and Delaware lawmakers and university presidents are highlighting a need to put more funding into Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

 

Delaware State University President Tony Allen says many colleges, including his, are becoming more successful — but that success brings new challenges.

 

“We recently acquired a small liberal arts college down the road, Wesley College,” said Allen. “While it was great, the deferred maintenance on now both of our campuses remains significant and it’s important that we restore it.”

 

Delaware State University continues to make its case to secure funding increases for campus improvements, program expansions beyond what lawmakers deem fit.

 

Allen was joined by members of the bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus, which includes Delaware’s Sen. Chris Coons.

 

Coons highlights the federal Ignite HBCU Excellence Act, a bipartisan funding boost to help modernize HBCU campuses.

 

“It’s more important than ever that congress makes this critical investment to ensure students are equipped with 21st century knowledge and skills ready for our workforce — and to fully participate in our civic life,” Coons said.

 

The bill would award grants for infrastructure, campus expansion and modernization projects at over 100 HBCUs across the country.

 

Rep. French Hill from Arkansas says states also need to step up and commit more funding to HBCUs.

 

Allen has unsuccessfully sought greater funding for DSU in past state budget hearings, most of which would go directly towards expanding existing programs, and addressing the maintenance backlog.

 

Allen says private partnerships, such as the building donation by Capital One are important moving forward, especially in the absence of greater state and federal funding.

 

The Ignite HBCU Excellence Act awaits consideration in the House of Representatives.

 

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

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