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Bipartisan Members Of Congress Launch Bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus

Apr 28, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Representatives Alma S. Adams (D-NC-12) and Bradley Byrne (R-AL-1) today launched the Bipartisan Congressional Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Caucus. The Bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus’ mission is to highlight and address unique challenges that HBCUs face; and to make sure their needs are heard and recognized on Capitol Hill. The Bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus is an official caucus approved by the Committee on House Administration in the 114th Congress. It is co-chaired by Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12) and Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL-1). Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS-2) and Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL-7) are the Vice Chairs of the caucus. 

“Having been a professor for 40 years and an administrator at an HBCU; and as an alumnus of an HBCU, I know the impact that these schools have on students, particularly students from the most underserved communities,” said Congresswoman Adams. “This bipartisan HBCU Caucus is bringing together champions for HBCUs, so that we can make an even bigger impact to ensure their needs are heard in every aspect of policy making and across party lines. I look forward to learning more from our students and faculty at HBCUs and will keep their insight with me as we work to reauthorize the Higher Education Act and fight for much needed Pell grant funding.”

“HBCUs have long been an important part of our nation’s higher education system. As such, I am proud to join with my colleague, Representative Alma Adams, to launch the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus,” said Congressman Byrne. “HBCUs deal with many of the same challenges as other higher education institutions, but they also face unique obstacles that demand special attention.  Our nation’s HBCUs are evolving as they adapt to a changing workforce, and through this caucus, I look forward to helping guide the conversation about how we can best support our nation’s HBCUs.”

“The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) applauds Representatives Byrne and Adams for their leadership and vision to create a bipartisan congressional coalition to support HBCUs,” said TMCF President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.  "Due to the changing educational landscape, the HBCU bipartisan Caucus is needed now more than ever. TMCF and our 47 member schools have been at the forefront of national issues impacting HBCUs and the students we serve.   We are proud to support the HBCU Caucus and this kickoff event.”

UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax stated: “UNCF and our 37-member HBCU presidents are excited about the new bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus and applaud the leadership of Representatives Alma Adams and Bradley Byrne in establishing this caucus to spread the word about HBCUs, which are a "best buy" in higher education.  Confronted with declining levels of federal support and regulatory threats, we welcome these Congressional champions who will help us fight for needed federal investments in HBCUs and in the thousands of first-generation, low-income, students of color that we serve."

The purpose of the bipartisan HBCU Caucus is to promote and protect the interests of HBCUs. Together, Members of Congress who are members of the caucus, will work to create a national dialogue, educating other Members of Congress and their staffs about the issues impacting HBCUs. The caucus will also work to draft meaningful bipartisan legislation to address the needs of HBCUs, and to support students and graduates of HBCUs by increasing access and career opportunities.  

The co-chairs of the bipartisan HBCU Caucus, Reps. Adams and Byrne, both have education backgrounds and are members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee and the Subcommittee on Higher Education. Rep. Adams is a former professor of Bennett College and an alumnus of North Carolina A&T and Rep. Byrne is a former Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System.

There are more than 100 HBCUs in the United States that enroll more than 300,000 students per year.  HBCUs represent 3 percent of colleges and universities, yet graduate 20 percent of African Americans with undergraduate degrees – and 25 percent of African American degrees in science, technology, engineering and math fields.  

There are currently 40 Members of the Bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus. Current Members include: Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC), Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), David Price (D-NC), Mark Walker (R-NC), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Mo Brooks (R-AL), John Lewis (D-GA), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Randy Forbes (R-VA), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Gwen Graham (D-FL), Lacy Clay (D-MO) Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Jared Polis (D-CO), Mark Veasey (D-TX), Richard Hudson (R-NC), John Conyers (D-MI), Bruce Westerman (R-AK) and Walter Jones (R-NC).