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FUTURE Act Hits Roadblock in US Senate

A legislation that seeks to reauthorize funding for all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), including minority-serving institutions, hit a roadblock in Senate after objected by Senator Lamar Alexander.

Alexander, who is also the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, Pensions (HELP) Committee objected to the passage of Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act suggesting a long term fix.

“Ensuring that historically black colleges and universities have continued funding is something we all want to do,” Alexander said. “However, instead of a short term patch, I favor a long term solution.”

The joint bicameral, bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala) in May was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The bill would further the capital improvement needs, as well as faculty and curriculum development and student services at HBCUs and MSIs. Pertinently, the federal funding for such institutions originally established by the College Cost and Reduction Act for the years of 2008-2009, is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2019.

“HBCUs have no higher priority than the FUTURE Act,” said Lodriguez Murray, United Negro College Fund (UNCF) senior vice president for public policy and government affairs.

“There is a fiscal cliff for HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs.  That judgement day is September 30, 2019. UNCF and every HBCU wants some advancements on the Higher Education Act (HEA), but we should be able to pass a two-year extension on these important funds while working on the larger landscape of higher education.”

Earlier this month, UNCF launched a campaign to  encourage supporters of HBCUs, STEM education, low income, and first-generation students to write to their senators and congressmen to seek support for the bill.

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