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The Voice of the Black Community

State & National

Bill would grant HBCU initiative
Legislation tied to campus innovation
 
Published Wednesday, May 14, 2014 8:12 am
by Herbert L. White

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan plans to introduce a bill to establish an innovation grant for historically black colleges.

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan

Hagan, (D-N.C.) chair of the Senate Education Committee on Minority Serving Institutions, said she intends to introduce a bill for an HBCU Innovation Fund to develop initiatives that address student needs. 

“Our HBCUs provide North Carolina students a quality education, and we must continue supporting these institutions in their drive toward innovation,” Hagan said at a committee meeting on Tuesday. “My bill will allow them to further enhance their students’ learning experience and better prepare them for future success in the workforce. Our success as a state and a nation depends on making sure all students reach their full potential, and that is why I’m committed to ensuring our HBCUs have the resources necessary to truly educate each and every student.”

North Carolina is home to 10 HBCUs, including Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte and Livingstone College in Salisbury.

Hagan’s bill would authorize a competitive program with two initiative options:

• Planning grants to design and develop innovations that would address issues affecting a school’s students.

• Five-year implementation grants, which would be conditional after three years to achieve specific outcomes articulated in the application.    

The legislation would also require grant recipients to secure a 15 percent match from an external source to execute their plan, conduct an independent evaluation and track their success against the measures set out in their application.

Grant priority would go to programs that increase the number of African American men who earn degrees; build partnerships between HBCUs and high schools to increase enrollment and graduation rates of historically underrepresented groups in higher education. It would also reward relationships that combine resources at HBCUs and partner institutions to support entrepreneurship and research.

North Carolina HBCU officials praised Hagan’s proposal.

“It is very timely and important for HBCUs that are facing challenges in sustaining quality new programs that have been created to advance the recruitment, retention, and graduation of its students,” said Diane Bowles Ph.D., JCSU’s vice president for government sponsored programs and applied research. “With HBCUs currently being threatened by fewer federal dollars to support them in general – and in student initiatives specifically – this legislation is a bright spot.”

Said N.C. A&T State University Chancellor Harold Martin: “The proposed HBCU Innovation Fund is a timely initiative to expand opportunities for our students. This strategic investment will make a significant impact by providing funding through competitive grants to increase student enrollment in the STEM fields and expand entrepreneurship initiatives that support the university’s interests in creating businesses and commercializing innovations developed through campus research programs.”

HBCUs represent just 3 percent of the nation’s colleges and enroll only 9 percent of all African American undergraduates, but produce 17 percent of black bachelor degrees. They account for 22 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in science and technology earned by African Americans.

 

Comments

The senator is on point. So much so, there is a strong case to be made that the HBCU landscape represents part of the solution to America's lagging economic competitiveness. North Carolina should consider producing a series of informative workshops on the Innovation Economy and the economic imperative of Inclusive Competitiveness. We can start here: http://www.slideshare.net/amikegreen2/innovation-economy-epiphany-workshop
Posted on May 15, 2014
 

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