States urged to address funding disparities for HBCUs

Several members of the United States Congress are calling on states to address gaps in their funding for universities in the land grant university system that short-change historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), writes Annie Ma for the Associated Press.

In a letter sent to governors, lieutenant governors and statehouse legislative leadership in 18 states on Wednesday 23 February, six Democratic members of the US House said equitable state funding is essential for the universities to reach their potential. The letter, which was first shared with the Associated Press, also highlighted the role the HBCUs have played in driving innovation for the nation’s food supply.

The country’s land grant university system was first established in 1862 under the Morrill Act, which gave public lands to states to establish colleges that focused on educating students in agriculture and mechanics. In 1890, the Second Morrill Act established 19 public universities for black students in former Confederate states and incorporated them into the land-grant university system. The universities, sometimes referred to as 1890 institutions, were to receive funding from the federal government as well as a one-to-one dollar match in support from the state. However, not all states meet their part of the funding obligation in their budgets.
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