Washington, DC – Congresswoman Alma S. Adams (NC-12) today announced the introduction of H.R.4857, the HBCU Innovation Fund Act. The legislation would create the HBCU Innovation Fund, which would be authorized in the Higher Education Act. Under the program, competitive grants would be made available to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) across the country to develop critical solutions to meet current and emerging needs.
“HBCUs provide opportunities for many low-income, first generation and often minority students to get a quality education,” said Congresswoman Adams. “HBCUs give students the chance they deserve to succeed; however, they have been historically underfunded and lack many of the resources needed to address some of their most extreme challenges. The HBCU Innovation Fund Act is one way to help close some of the gaps that persist on HBCU campuses and within HBCU administrations.”
The HBCU Innovation Fund Act would provide grants to HBCUs to allow for the planning and implementation of programs that improve student achievement, increase recruitment, increase graduation rates and increase enrollment and completion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degrees. The legislation would also help HBCUs redesign course offerings to improve student outcomes and reduce education costs; enhance the quality and number of teacher preparation programs; expand the use of technology; and strengthen postgraduate employment outcomes for students.
“UNCF applauds the introduction of the HBCU Innovation Fund Act, and we greatly appreciate Congresswoman Alma Adams’ outstanding leadership on behalf of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), including the 37-member HBCUs we support. This legislation would build the capacity of our colleges to develop, test, and implement new approaches that can help HBCUs surmount current challenges and meet the nation’s need for skilled college graduates. Similar to the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative, a new private competitive grant program that will help selected HBCUs intentionally and innovatively increase postgraduate employment outcomes, the HBCU Innovation Fund will support a broader strategic federal investment through both planning and implementation grants to drive innovative ideas and best practices at HBCUs. We urge swift adoption of this important initiative, whose possibilities are unlimited,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO, United Negro College Fund.
Congresswoman Adams is the co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus and member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee; and Subcommittee on Higher Education. The Bipartisan HBCU Caucus is currently comprised of 56 Members of Congress. The mission of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus is to promote and protect the interests of HBCUs by creating a national dialogue; educating Members of Congress and their staffs about the issues impacting HBCUs; drafting meaningful bipartisan legislation to address the needs of HBCUs; and supporting students and graduates of HBCUs by increasing access and career opportunities.
The HBCU Innovation Fund Act is cosponsored by Representatives Patrick Murphy (FL-18), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At Large), Corrine Brown (FL-5), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Donna F. Edwards (MD-4), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Stacey E. Plaskett (VI-At Large), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Bennie G. Thompson (MS-2), Terri A. Sewell (AL-7), Chris Van Hollen (MD-8), Joyce Beatty (OH-3), Steve Cohen (TN-9), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) and Chaka Fattah (PA-2).