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Reps. Adams & Hill, Sens. Coons & Scott Announce HBCU Caucus for the 117th Congress

Jan 15, 2021
Press Release
The Caucus was originally founded in 2015; since then, it has grown to over 100 Members strong in both the House and the Senate.

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12), Representative French Hill (AR-02), and Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Chris Coons (D-DE) announced the return of the Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities Caucus for the 117th Congress. The Caucus was originally founded in 2015; since then, it has grown to over 100 Members strong in both the House and the Senate.

“Once again, I am proud to lead the Congressional Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities Caucus,” said Rep. Adams, founder of the HBCU Caucus. “Now entering its seventh year, the HBCU Caucus will continue to advance equity in higher education with a renewed commitment to giving these schools the support and resources they need. I am honored to be joined by my House co-chair, Rep. French Hill (AR-02), as well as my House Vice-Chairs Reps. Terri Sewell (AL-07) and Michael Turner (OH-10), Senate co-chairs, Sens. Tim Scott and Chris Coons, and the nearly 100 Members of Congress who have joined the Caucus for the 117th Congress. They know HBCUs are agents of access and inclusion in our society, and together we will ensure a bright future for these exceptional institutions.”

“As the first Senate co-chair of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Caucus, I can assure Americans that our work in advancing the cause of HBCUs is just beginning,” said Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). “Much has been done since the early days of the HBCU caucus and all our tireless advocacy has not been in vain. We’ve secured historic and permanent funding for HBCUs, hosted university presidents in Washington —for the first time in history—to hear from them directly, and worked to cultivate private/public partnerships between HBCUs and American industries. I look forward to working with colleagues in both chambers, and on both sides of the aisle, to continue building on the good work we’ve accomplished to strengthen HBCUs across the country.”

“For thousands of students in Arkansas and across the country, HBCUs like Arkansas Baptist College, Philander Smith College, Shorter College and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offer the essential tools to help students pursue their own American Dream,” said Rep. Hill, caucus co-chair. “As we start the 117th Congress, my colleagues and I seek to address the unique challenges that HBCUs face and expand opportunity for Black students. As Co-Chair of the HBCU Caucus, I look forward to working with Senator Coons, Senator Scott, and Representative Adams to reach across the aisle and start a national dialogue about what we can do to bolster our HBCUs. We will also work in a bipartisan manner to draft meaningful legislation that will support students and graduates of HBCUs by increasing access to career opportunities.”

“We relaunched the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus two years ago to find new ways to support institutions like Delaware State University which continue to expand the opportunity of higher education to more students,” said Senator Coons. “In that time, the caucus’ efforts have helped bring renewed focus to HBCUs: securing permanent federal funding for HBCUs and MSIs, launching new ROTC programs for aspiring pilots, and most recently, passing the HBCU Partners Act to deepen the federal government’s collaboration with these critical engines for equity. Delaware is home to one of the top HBCUs in the country, and I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact that DSU has on our state and on the city of Dover. That’s why I’m proud to lead this caucus with my colleagues and to continue championing priorities of HBCUs and MSIs in the halls of Congress.”  

“I am proud to join as a vice-chair of the House HBCU Caucus. HBCUs in Ohio’s Tenth Congressional District, and across our country, are places of innovation and research, and they play an integral role in their communities,” said Rep. Mike Turner (OH-10). “This will aid me in my advocacy on behalf of Central State and Wilberforce. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that HBCU’s get the resources and funding they need to provide their students a first-class education.”

“Alabama's 7th Congressional District is home to many of the most prominent HBCUs in the country, and I am honored to continue to serve as Vice Chair of the bipartisan HBCU Caucus for the 117th Congress,” said Congresswoman Sewell. “These historic institutions have provided students across the nation with high-quality educational opportunities, even throughout these unprecedented times. As Vice Chair, I am proud that the HBCU Caucus has helped deliver critical support to our HBCU’s in recent years, including significant funding and capital financing debt relief.  I am excited to continue our bipartisan work in the 117thCongress to preserve and advance our HBCUs' longstanding legacy educational excellence."

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) play a critical role in higher education. Over 100 HBCUs across the country educate and employ many of our constituents, enrolling over 300,000 students every year. As they serve a disproportionate number of low-income and first-generation college attendees, HBCUs provide opportunity for students from underrepresented backgrounds to attain an excellent education. These institutions are essential producers of diverse talent and important pipelines for the workforce.

Despite the important role HBCUs play, they face unique challenges due to historic discrimination and underfunding. These challenges include a limited capacity to access research and development grants, obtain funding for capital infrastructure improvements, and recruit faculty. The Caucus was created to educate Congress and the American people about the important role HBCUs play in higher education, facilitate discussions about the challenges impacting HBCUs, and draft meaningful, bipartisan legislation to address them. We ask you to join the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus in the 117th Congress and help us to continue advocating on behalf of our HBCUs and the communities they serve.

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. She is a double graduate of North Carolina A&T, the largest HBCU by enrollment in the United States.