Florida Delegation Helps Get Permanent Funding for HBCUs, MSIs, HSIs

Members of the Florida delegation helped get the “Fostering Undergraduate Talent Using Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act” through Congress and is now on President Donald Trump’s desk.

The bill, which cleared the U.S. House by voice vote in September and the U.S. Senate by voice vote earlier this month, permanently directs $255 million in federal funds for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). The bill, which was championed by U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, D-NC, and U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., also streamlines the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by eliminating up to 22 questions and lets the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) share FASFA applicants’ tax information directly with the U.S. Department of Education.

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., who helped launch the HBCU Caucus on Capitol Hill back in 2015, weighed in on its merits, describing it as “a measure that permanently guarantees more than $250 million in mandatory funding per year for the nation’s historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions.”

“The legislation, which has been approved by the Senate, also simplifies the federal student aid applications process, which means more students will be able to pursue a college education and repay their loans,” Wilson said. “The FUTURE Act will enable HBCUs and MSIs to build on their storied legacies of providing and expanding opportunities for students of color and low-income students who might otherwise find higher education beyond their reach. In addition to offering top-notch educations that prepare students to successfully compete with the best in their chosen fields, these institutions also provide nurturing environments in which self-confidence is boosted and lifelong friendships are formed.

“This legislation, which will soon head to the White House to be signed into law, is an all-too-rare example of the immeasurable good that lawmakers on Capitol Hill can achieve when members of both chambers and both parties work together. As a proud HBCU graduate, I am grateful that we were able to find common ground on such a monumental issue and hopeful that we can do so again,” Wilson concluded.

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., said that the bill will help schools in North Florida.

“Millions of our nation’s best and brightest students rely on FUTURE Act funding to create pathways of opportunity for millions of Americans, many of whom are first-generation college students,” said Lawson. “In Florida’s 5th District, these funds will help to propel students at Florida A&M University and Edward Waters College for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future.

“As our country becomes increasingly diverse, federal funding for these schools is more important than ever,” Lawson added. “As a graduate of FAMU, I understand first-hand the power of these institutions. The FUTURE Act will help to extend that privilege for generations to come.”

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

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