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Rep. Adams Introduces HBCU Capital Finance Debt Relief Act

Jul 6, 2020
Press Release
Bill is accompanied by a letter urging Congressional leadership to help HBCUs survive the economic fallout from COVID-19

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) introduced H.R. 7380, the HBCU Capital Finance Debt Relief Act, to cancel the obligation of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to repay capital financing loans that place a crushing burden on these institutions during COVID-19. In addition to the bill, Rep. Adams authored a letter, joined by 20 other members of Congress, calling on Congressional leaders to consider and pass H.R. 7380.

“With tuition dollars serving as the main funding source for the operation, upkeep, and renovation of HBCU campuses, and COVID-19 creating a great deal of uncertainty regarding 2020-21 school year enrollment, HBCUs face a looming disaster," said Congresswoman Adams. "The HBCU Capital Finance Debt Relief Act would be a boon to these critical institutions of higher learning as they face up to a 20% drop in tuition revenue for the fall 2020 semester. I hope our Congressional leadership will join us in supporting this necessary policy to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on schools that are mobility drivers for low-income, first generation students of color." 

H.R. 7380 is endorsed by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF)the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF).

Information about the bill is available here and on Congress.gov.

A copy of the letter is available here.

“HBCUs, like African American individuals, have had resources withheld from them through the years, and in the few instances when HBCUs do get access then those resources come at rates which seem punitive,” said Dr. Michael Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF (United Negro College Fund). “The HBCU Capital Finance program has been helpful to some institutions, but now is the time to relieve debt for HBCUs--period. That is why I thank Congresswoman Alma Adams, and so many others in Congress who work in concert with her, for introducing the HBCU Capital FinanceDebt Relief Act. To discharge the HBCUs which have debt due to this program is a true, substantial, and material step towards making the future brighter for the crown jewels of the American higher education system. We at UNCF encourage the Congress to pass this bill immediately.”

“NAFEO and the Nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) are grateful to Congresswoman Alma Adams for continuing to lead congressional efforts to ensure that HBCUs receive federal dollars and other opportunities through the Capital Financing and Debt Relief Act,” said Lezli Baskerville, President & CEO, NAFEO. “These institutions provide tremendous benefits to our country, as producers of proportionately more of the growing populations of young professional people of color trained and prepared to enter today’s workforce. The Capital Financing Debt Relief Act will provide another vehicle to permit HBCUs to continue to outpace other American colleges and universities in graduating blacks and other diverse students in the high-demand occupations available in STEAM, health care, education, and others.These students are primarily first generation and persons of color who will derive a fresh start from the efforts of Congresswoman Adams.  The coronavirus has presented an even greater challenge for these students as they seek to remain competitive in an environment that provides limited to no opportunities due to high unemployment and a nation that itself is experiencing its greatest recession in recent memory. NAFEO will provide any resources and experience at its disposal in support of these efforts.”

“We are continually grateful for Congresswoman Adams’ tireless support of our nation’s HBCUs and their students,” said Harry L. Williams, President and CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “Introducing the HBCU Capitol Finance Debt Relief Act is yet another example of her commitment to ensuring that our schools remain strong for decades to come.”

H.R. 7380 cosponsors include Representatives Sanford Bishop (GA-02), Anthony Brown (MD-04), Tony Cardenas (CA-29), Andre Carson (IN-07), Lacy Clay (MO-01), Jim Cooper (TN-05), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Hank Johnson (GA-04), Al Lawson, Jr. (FL-05), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Terri Sewell (AL-07), Jose Serrano (NY-15), Bennie Thompson (MS-02), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and Frederica Wilson (FL-24). 

Congresswoman Alma Adams represents North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District (Charlotte) and serves as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture. Additionally, she serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Education & Labor Committee, where she serves as Chair of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. In 2015, she co-founded the first bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus, which she continues to chair.

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