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Adams, Hill, Announce Over 100 Bipartisan Cosponsors and Endorsing Organizations for Landmark Bill

Jul 12, 2021
Press Release
The IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act has 25 endorsing organizations and over 80 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC) and Rep. French Hill (R-AR), announced 50 new cosponsors of the Institutional Grants for New Infrastructure, Technology, and Education for HBCU Excellence Act (IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act), as well as 25 endorsing organizations and industry leaders. The legislation would make historic investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities to rectify over a century of systemic neglect. 

The bill’s other original House cosponsors are Reps. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Mike Turner (R-OH). The Senate version of the IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act is led by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Tim Scott (R-SC).

“I am honored to have 50 more of my colleagues as well as 25 organizations and industry leaders signed on to support the IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act, the most transformative legislation for Historically Black Colleges and Universities ever,” said Congresswoman Adams, Founder and Co-Chair of the HBCU Caucus. “This historic, bipartisan bill continues to gain momentum in both the private sector and Congress because industry leaders know HBCUs are the key to a diverse, successful workforce. The IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act recognizes that HBCUs are essential to our recovery, and part of the critical infrastructure that our country needs to succeed in the 21st Century.”

“It is exciting to see 75 of my colleagues and 25 industry leaders supporting the IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act, our bipartisan legislative proposal that supports the HBCU community and encourages private and public partnerships,” said Representative French Hill, Co-Chair of the HBCU Caucus. “I hope to see continued support for this proposal so we may support the long-term competitiveness of our HBCU communities.”

Endorsing organizations include United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), IBM, Mastercard, Farm Credit, NC Electric Cooperatives, SAP,  Dell, Wells Fargo, Visa, TIAA, Micron Technology, Diageo, HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Information Technology Industry Council, Capital One, Adobe, Autodesk, Nielsen, Oracle Corporation, Siemens, and Softbank Group.

The complete list of House cosponsors includes Representatives Terri Sewell, Michael Turner, Colin Allred, Karen Bass, Joyce Beatty, Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Lisa Blunt Rochester, Jamaal Bowman, Anthony G. Brown, Cori Bush, G. K. Butterfield, Andre' Carson, Troy Carter, Katherine Clark, Yvette D. Clarke, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Steve Cohen, Jim Cooper, Danny K. Davis, Antonio Delgado, Val Demings, Dwight Evans, Brian Fitzpatrick, Al Green, Jahana Hayes, Steven Horsford,  Sheila Jackson Lee,  Hakeem Jeffries,  Eddie Bernice Johnson,  Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr., Mondaire Jones, Robin Kelly, Ro Khanna, Andy Kim, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Brenda L. Lawrence, Al Lawson, Barbara Lee, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Carolyn B. Maloney, Sean Patrick Maloney, Kathy Manning, Lucy McBath, A. Donald McEachin, Gregory W. Meeks, Kweisi Mfume, Gwen S. Moore, Frank Mrvan, Joe Neguse, Donald Norcross, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ilhan Omar, Donald M. Payne, Jr., Stacey E. Plaskett, Ayanna Pressley, David Price, Deborah Ross, Bobby L. Rush, Michael F.Q. San Nicolas, Mary Gay Scanlon, David Scott, Adam Smith, Marilyn Strickland, Mark Takano, Bennie G. Thompson, Ritchie Torres, Lauren Underwood, Marc Veasey, Nydia Velazquez, Maxine Waters, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Nikema Williams, and Frederica Wilson.

The complete list of Senate cosponsors includes Senators Raphael Warnock, John Boozman, Thom Tillis, Chris Van Hollen, Lindsey Graham, and Cory Booker.

While only representing roughly 3 percent of all four-year colleges and universities, HBCUs produce upwards of 17 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded to African Americans. Additionally, HBCUs enroll a disproportionately high percentage of first generation and low-income students, nearly 60 percent, and outperform their peers in supporting and graduating these students.

The incredible success of HBCUs has been achieved despite over a century of systemic underfunding at both the state and federal levels. Too often, HBCUs are forced to navigate the effects of chronic underfunding while also lacking access to alternate sources of capital available to other institutions. 

The IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act invests in infrastructure at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This legislation recognizes the contributions of these institutions in the most important way possible: by affording them the support and investment needed to deepen their transformational work. Specifically, it would authorize funds to: 

  • Utilize public and private investments to renovate, repair, modernize, or construct new campus facilities, including instructional, research, and residential spaces; 
  • Provide access to campus-wide, reliable high-speed broadband to support digital learning and long-term technological capacity; 
  • Develop campus facilities to support community-based partnerships that provide students and community members with academic, health, and social services; 
  • Procure equipment and technology needed to facilitate high-quality research and instruction; 
  • Preserve buildings with historic significance; and
  • Ensure the resilience, safety, and sustainability of campus facilities. 

Congresswoman Alma Adams represents North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District (Charlotte, Mecklenburg County). In 2015, she founded the first bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Caucus in Congress. In 2019, her previous landmark legislation to invest in HBCUs, the FUTURE Act, was signed into law. She is a double graduate of North Carolina A&T, the largest HBCU by enrollment in the United States.