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Northam announces new funding for HBCUs in new state budget

virginia politics
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Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed two-year state budget will increase funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities to record numbers.

The proposal also raises the Tuition Assistance Grant to $5,000 from $4,000. TAG helps Virginia students attend private colleges, including HBCUs.

The governor’s proposal includes the creation of an unprecedented HBCU Opportunity Fund, to provide scholarships for students at Virginia’s eligible private HBCUs. Virginia Union University and Hampton University together will receive $10 million per year.

Northam is proposing $277 million in funding for operating costs and building construction at Virginia’s two public HBCUs. Norfolk State University will receive $164 million and Virginia State University will receive $113 million. The total budget amount going to Virginia’s HBCUs is $297 million.

The budget will allocate an additional $20 million in 2023 and $20 million in 2024 to increase the affordability of Norfolk State and Virginia State University. More students will be able to access a high-quality education thanks to these state funds.

“Virginia’s higher education system is parallel to none,” Northam said. “HBCUs have long been underfunded, and we have worked tirelessly over the past four years to fix that. We are closing the funding gap and making college more accessible to all Virginians.”

Virginia’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been systemically underfunded for years. In 2019, Northam proposed and allocated nearly $300 million in new funding for Virginia State University and Norfolk State University, as well as additional capital support and funding for programs to help first-generation students overcome barriers to graduation.

“HBCUs are a critical asset to Virginia’s higher education system and this funding will be game-changing for these institutions,” said Secretary of Education Frances Bradford. “Proper funding for these schools means better resources for students. Students will also benefit from increasing TAG Program funding. These grants help Virginians overcome barriers to going to college.”

“This new investment permanently changes the way Virginia invests in HBCU’s like Virginia Union and Hampton,” said Dr. Hakim Lucas, President of Virginia Union University, the historic university founded at Devil’s Half Acre in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom when the Civil War ended. “This is a new beginning, and a dramatic step forward.”

Northam’s proposal also calls for an increase in the Tuition Assistance Grant Program from $4,000 to $5,000 per student over the next two years. The TAG Program provides grants to Virginia residents who attend eligible accredited private, nonprofit colleges and universities in Virginia.

In 2019, Northam proposed raising the TAG Program maximum award money from $3,400 to $4,000 per student. If the new proposal is adopted by the legislature, funding under the TAG Program would have increased by 50% during Governor Northam’s term.

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