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Senate Education Committee Chairman: Now is the Time to Pass Permanent Funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions

Senate Democrats block – for second time – permanent funding for HBCUs and FAFSA simplification for 8 million minority students

WASHINGTON, November 20, 2019 — Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said “now is the time to pass permanent funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions.”

Alexander made his remarks on the Senate floor after Senate Democrats blocked Alexander’s bipartisan package of higher education proposals that includes $255 million in permanent annual funding for HBCUs and simplifying the FAFSA federal aid application that 8 million minority students fill out each year. 

“The president of Southwest Community College in Memphis told me he loses 1,500 students a semester because of the complexity of the FAFSA. There are other provisions in this package, which include the Portman-Kaine provision for short-term Pell grants sponsored by about 20 senators, many of them Democrats. The package provides Pell grants for prisoners who are eligible for parole, an increase in the number of students who qualify for Pell Grants, and increases the maximum Pell grant amount,” Alexander continued.

“All of that is in this package that I've offered, but it starts with permanent funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. And since the Department of Education has said there's federal funding for all those institutions until October 1 of next year, there's no reason why we can't agree to my package today.” 

“Five years is long enough to work on the Higher Education Act. I'm ready to come to a conclusion. We have time to do it and I look forward to being able to say to our six Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Tennessee, the result of our hard work and our debate and discussion is permanent funding.”