As Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said when speaking about a recently passed piece of legislation, it is a “Christmas present for college students and their families.”
The present comes by way of the Santa Claus sitting in the White House: President Donald Trump, who signed a bipartisan-backed bill on Thursday that will permanently provide historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other minority-based institutions over $250 million a year in government funding, the Associated Press reported.
Another false narrative
The bill will certainly come as a surprise to those who push the false narrative that the Trump administration stands opposed to minorities — something that was not lost on the president who, while signing the bill, declared that HBCUs have “never had better champions in the White House.”
“When I took office,” Trump continued, “I promised to fight for HBCUs, and my administration continues to deliver. A few months ago, funding for HBCUs was in jeopardy. But the White House and Congress came together and reached a historic agreement.”
The funds will be divided such that $85 million is provided to HBCUs annually, $100 million will go to Hispanic-serving institutions, $30 million will be designated for tribal schools, and $40 million will be provided to other educational institutions serving minority communities.
Getting things done
Prior to the passage of this bill, HBCUs were worried that they might have to implement extreme cuts after previous funding came to an end this past September when Congress did not take steps to renew it. Suffice it to say that this outcome is a big relief to many.
As such, the signing of the bill was celebrated by Michael Lomax, the president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund, who thanked President Trump and the bill’s advocates for their efforts.
“We enlisted more than 20,000 supporters to write and call their members of Congress,” Lomax said, according to the Daily Caller. “This activated army of advocates became the frontline of support for HBCUs, and they won the battle for our institutions.”
In addition to providing the funding, this legislation will also simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process by reducing the 108 questions previously asked of students and families to a tidy and efficient 22.
“This bipartisan provision stops families from having to give their same tax information to the federal government twice — first to the IRS, then again to the U.S. Department of Education,” Alexander explained. “It should eliminate most of the so-called ‘verification’ process, which is a bureaucratic nightmare that 5.5 million students go through annually.”
This move alone is expected to save some $2.8 billion over the course of the next decade.
It really does appear to be a win-win for all involved.