Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey announced today that if elected president he has a $100 billion plan for HBCUs focused on STEM education.
According to the New York Times, Booker seeks to bring “Historically Black Colleges and Universities” up to date by calling for $30 billion to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics at. Booker’s campaign also announced that he will allocate another $30 billion in grants to update facilities at these schools.
“H.B.C.U.s make our country stronger and more reflective of the diversity that makes us so great, I am here today because of the power of these institutions to uplift and bring about opportunity to black Americans,” Booker said in an official statement.
It’s no secret that select HBCUs and minority serving schools have struggled with funding and even accreditation issues. Democratic candidates Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and Mayor Pete Buttegieg have already announced their plans to invest billions in HBCUs. Booker’s proposal included a pledge to dedicate $40 billion to climate change research by creating “Climate Moonshot Hubs” at HBCUs, reports ESSENCE. Senator Kamala Harris previously rolled out a similar proposal, earlier today she dropped out of the race.
Additionally, the plan requires doubling the value of Pell Grants from $6,200 to $12,400. It will also require 10 percent of Pell Grants programs to be allocated to HBCUs and minority serving institutions. Booker’s campaign has hopes that Congress to fund the $100 billion over the course of 10 years.
Though his plan is ambitious, the proposal highlights the importance of minority serving institutions. According to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, 22 percent of Black bachelors degrees come directly from HBCUs. By making this announcement, the presidential hopeful is speaking to a large demographic of current students and alumnae of historically black colleges and universities.
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