hbcu house billThe House of Representatives approved a bipartisan bill introduced by Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) and Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC) that would help improve infrastructure for our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

By a unanimous voice vote, the House approved H.R. 5530, the HBCU Capital Financing Improvement Act. The bill will improve access to and oversight of an existing program that enables HBCUs to improve their campuses to better serve their students.

Congressman Byrne and Congresswoman Adams are the co-chairs of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus.

Here’s the entire transcript of Congressman Byrne’s statement in support of the legislation below.

“Byrne said: H.R. 5530 is one of a number of bills on the floor today with a common purpose: improving our country’s higher education system—something that has been a priority of mine for a very long time.

As a member of the Alabama State Board of Education and Chancellor of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education, I worked to ensure the schools in our state were preparing students to succeed. As a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, I have continued that focus and worked to deliver solutions that will provide all students with the quality education they deserve. And that’s why I stand here today.

An important part of helping students succeed is making sure schools and institutions have what they need to serve them well. That’s exactly what H.R. 5530 will do.

The bill reforms a program known as the HBCU Capital Financing Program. Congress created this program to provide Historically Black Colleges and Universities with low-cost capital they can use to make infrastructure improvements. It acts as a loan guarantee program so that these institutions can finance or refinance repairs, renovations, and construction on their campuses.

The program also includes an advisory board that is intended to inform the Department of Education on the capital needs of HBCUs, how those needs can be met through the program, and how the program can be improved.

H.R. 5530 will improve access to the HBCU Capital Financing Program by helping schools better understand the resources available to them. It will also strengthen oversight of the program, reinforcing the duties of its advisory board by requiring it to report annually to Congress on the program’s financial health.

These are simple reforms that will help HBCUs better serve their students and ensure taxpayer dollars are being well spent.

I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.”

Click here to learn more about H.R. 5530.