Obama White House Awards HBCUs, But How Will the Money Be Managed?

David A. Love, The Grio, September 20, 2012

The Department of Education recently announced it is providing $228 million in grants to 97 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in 19 states. The funds will be used for campus expansion, counseling programs, science equipment and faculty training.

“HBCUs have made enduring, even staggering contributions to American life despite the steep financial challenges many have faced,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “The grants will help these important institutions continue to provide their students with the quality education they need to compete in the global economy.”

The announcement is welcome news for financially challenged institutions who, like the black community as a whole, have been hurting during the U.S. economic downturn. In addition, the grants will ease the concerns of critics who believe President Obama has not done enough to help the black community, his most ardent supporters.

Nevertheless, with the collapse of Morris Brown College—due to financial mismanagement, corruption, financial aid theft and foreclosure—and the overall precarious fiscal state of HBCUs, some are wondering if these schools can be trusted to properly manage their finances.

Among the historically black institutions facing economic woes are Bethune-Cookman University and Florida Memorial UniversityMoney troubles have translated into accreditation issues and warnings for Fisk University, Tennessee State, Bennett College, Tugaloo College, Saint Paul’s College, Southern University, Virginia Union University, Grambling State University and others. Loss of accreditation affects a university’s reputation, fundraising and access to financial aid—which is crucial to the well-being of HBCUs.

In addition to Morris Brown, Alabama A&M University and Florida A&M have faced financial accountability problems, including financial aid theft.

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Although the 105 HBCUs account for 3 percent of all U.S. colleges, they enroll 12 percent of black college students, produce 23 percent of all black college graduates, 40 percent of the nation’s black science graduates, and 60 percent of blacks holding engineering degrees. Further, these institutions are responsible for generating 50 percent of all African-American professionals and public school teachers, 75 percent of African-American Ph.Ds, 80 percent of black federal judges, and 85 percent of all African-American doctors.

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  • dukem1

    Is there any larger remnant of segregation these days than these HBCUs?
    Why are our tax dollars being used to preserve this?
    If the Feds are gonna make sure there are monuments to Jim Crow, the focus should be on something useful…like voting!

  • Puggg

    How will the money be managed?

    If it doesn’t wind up being snorted up noses, smoked in mouths or injected into veins, then that will be a minor victory.

  • Personally, I think that it would make more financial sense to close some of these colleges who have suffered from financial mismanagement by campus officials. From what I have heard from students who have attended these colleges, they have problems getting financial aid. The school financial aid office usually loses paperwork so that the students have to reapply and then if they cannot pay because of issues with their financial aid caused by the school, they get kicked out for non payment.

  • IKantunderstand

    And, while the admin is handing out that money, it was disclosed that further grants were being handed out to Detroit, MI.; Gary, IN.; Atlanta, GA.; Birmingham, AL. and Cleveland, OH.  Quoting an anonymous source in the gov. “Well, hell! It be White people money. As long as doze crackers keep on workin’, well shiiiiiiit, we be doin’ jus fine”. When asked if he was concerned by the lack of progress, or accomplishment, our source replied: “Ah,  hell no, dem White folks owes us, we wuz slaves an all  like that”. Keep working Honkeys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • RisingReich

    I’m frankly confused by this.  Is Obama that insecure, that he still believes he needs to buy these votes?  The black vote is in the bag.

    Maybe he’s worried he’s still going to lose, and wants to do as much ‘re-distribution’ as possible before the election…if we even have one at this rate.

  • I’m not sure why it’s the role of the federal government to give raw cash handouts to universities, and further, how this money can be disbursed without first a congressional vote.  As with Obama’s DREAM Act that he unilaterally implemented after Congress failed to pass it, we’re acting more and more like a banana republic with liberals not caring about Obama’s dictatorial moves so long as they agree with those moves.

  • Since Marion Barry is no longer Mayor of DC, he should be given the job of managing the money.

  • Ulick

    “Nevertheless, with the collapse of Morris Brown College—due to financial mismanagement, corruption, financial aid theft and foreclosure—and the overall precarious fiscal state of HBCUs”

    So, in other words, Morris Brown College is a microcosm of every majority black population run by black leadership… ever… regardless of location.

    • Morris Brown has filed for bankruptcy. They have about 50 students and are currently unaccredited. They lost their accreditation several years ago when the former president and financial aid officer were convicted of defrauding the government by filing false financial aid applications and using the money to keep the school afloat.

  • Biff_Maliboo

    There’s ’97’ of these HBCU’s?

    They must be including storefront ‘beauty schools’ in that number…

    Mr. Duncan failed to mention a single “staggering” contribution that these vital institutions have made.

  • “12 percent of black college students, produce 23 percent of all black college graduates, 40 percent of the nation’s black science graduates, and 60 percent of blacks holding engineering degrees. Further, these institutions are responsible for generating 50 percent of all African-American professionals and public school teachers, 75 percent of African-American Ph.Ds, 80 percent of black federal judges, and 85 percent of all African-American doctors.”

    Segregation is evil.  These schools must be integrated.

  • Gibbs me dat!

  • Further, these institutions are responsible for generating 50 percent of all African-American professionals and public school teachers, 75 percent of African-American Ph.Ds, 80 percent of black federal judges, and 85 percent of all African-American doctors.

    If by doctors they mean M.D.s- black population is actually in great shape, all things considered ….