Senate passes bill to fund historically black universities

The United States Senate passed a bill on 5 December by unanimous consent to permanently fund historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions. Federal funding had expired on 1 October, writes Shawna Mizelle for CNN.

In early November, 38 senators had sent an open letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, urging them to allow immediate consideration of the legislation. The House initially passed the measure last month, the letter says, and it notes that the funding “is a lifeline for these institutions to strengthen their academic, administrative and fiscal capacities”.

The bipartisan bill known as the FUTURE Act (Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education) strives to strengthen HBCUs as well as other minority-serving institutions by providing US$255 million annually. The measure makes the federal student aid application process – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – easier by eliminating up to 22 questions and the process that had required some students to verify Internal Revenue Service documentation with the Department of Education in order for aid to be released.
Full report on the CNN site