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Congressional Black Caucus Endorses the IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act

Aug 6, 2021
Press Release
The IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act has 25 endorsing organizations and over 90 cosponsors.

WASHINGTON, D.C – Today, Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) announced the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) under the leadership of Chairwoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) endorsed the bipartisan IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act.

Chairwoman Beatty issued the following statement endorsing the landmark legislation:

“As the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and as a graduate of an HBCU, I am proud to announce that the Congressional Black Caucus is endorsing the IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act,” said Chairwoman Beatty. “The IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act is the most transformative legislation for Historically Black Colleges and Universities in our lifetime. The IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act invests in our HBCU facilities to give students state-of-the-art learning environments and enables HBCUs to continue to be a critical source of diversity in the workforce for another century and beyond."

The IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act has 25 endorsing organizations and over 90 cosponsors. Endorsing organizations include the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), 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 bipartisan list of Senate cosponsors includes Senators Chris Coons, Tim Scott, Raphael Warnock, John Boozman, Chris Van Hollen, Thom Tillis, Cory Booker, Lindsey Graham, Bob Casey, and Cindy Hyde-Smith.

The bipartisan list of House cosponsors includes Representatives Alma S. Adams, Ph.D., Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty, French Hill, Terri Sewell, Michael Turner, Colin Allred, Karen Bass, Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Lisa Blunt Rochester, Suzanne Bonamici, Jamaal Bowman, Brendan F. Boyle, Anthony G. Brown, Cori Bush, G. K. Butterfield, Andre' Carson, Troy Carter, Katherine Clark, Yvette D. Clarke, Emanuel Cleaver, II, James E. Clyburn, Steve Cohen, Jim Cooper, Charlie Crist, Danny K. Davis, Antonio Delgado, Val Demings, Dwight Evans, Brian Fitzpatrick, Sylvia R. Garcia, Al Green, Jahana Hayes, Steven Horsford, Chrissy Houlahan,  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, Mike Rogers, Deborah Ross, Bobby L. Rush, Michael F.Q. San Nicolas, Mary Gay Scanlon, David Scott, Adam Smith, Haley Stevens, Marilyn Strickland, Eric Swalwell, Mark Takano, Bennie G. Thompson, Rashida Tlaib, Ritchie Torres, Lauren Underwood, Marc Veasey, Nydia Velazquez, Maxine Waters, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Nikema Williams, Frederica Wilson, Rob Wittman, and John Yarmuth.

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.

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