This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Bethune-Cookman University to highlight historic state investments in Florida’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
This announcement comes in advance of the 145th anniversary of Mary McLeod Bethune’s birthday, celebrated on July 10. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the budget, which DeSantis signed at the start of this week, provides more than $123 million to Florida’s HBCUs to advance the academics, research and education of students.
The budget includes $92.8 million for Florida A&M University, an increase of $1.3 million, and historic funding of:
- $16.96 million for Bethune-Cookman, an increase of $13 million.
- $7 million for Florida Memorial University, an increase of $3.5 million.
- $6.4 million for Edward Waters College, an increase of $3.5 million.
“I was proud to be at Bethune-Cookman University today to announce major investments for Florida’s Historically Black Colleges Universities,” said DeSantis on Wednesday. “HBCUs play an important role in Florida’s educational fabric and continue to be trailblazers for innovation, talent, and leadership. This funding will provide students additional opportunities and will continue to transform higher education in Florida, especially for Black students across the state to meet the demands of the 21st century.”
“I am so proud of this great funding for Florida’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and thank Governor DeSantis for once again prioritizing education in Florida,” said Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. “As Fredrick Douglass said, ‘Education means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth,’ of which HBCUs have been instrumental, not only in Florida but across our nation for generations. This funding is a testament to the proud history HBCUs hold, and the future they promise, by providing their students a world-class education.”
“In the Bethune-Cookman alma mater there are the salient words “thou art the answered prayers of a dream,” said state Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando. “Because of this historic appropriation, dreams came true and prayers were answered. It has been an honor to sponsor this funding initiative in the Senate and I commend the governor for signing this appropriation into law.”
“We were grateful to have Governor DeSantis at Bethune-Cookman University today to highlight this historic funding for Florida’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said state Rep. James Bush, D-Miami. “His commitment to our state’s HBCUs shows that he is not only the governor for one segment of the community, but that he is the governor for all segments of the community. This funding will afford our African American students greater opportunities to succeed and adds tremendous value to the legacy of Dr. Mary Mcleod Bethune.”
“The Florida Legislature’s investment in Florida’s private HBCUs will provide financial stability to the HBCUs, and ensure the students that attend those HBCUs have the financial assistance they need to complete their education,” said state Rep. Bruce Antone, D-Orlando.
“We greatly appreciate the state’s generous support of Bethune-Cookman University, and we are grateful to Governor DeSantis, Senator Bracy, and Representative Antone and others for working so hard on our behalf,” said Dr. LaBrent Chrite, the president of Bethune-Cookman University. “This commitment, particularly at this unique time in the state’s recent history, represents a powerful affirmation of the critical role this university assumes in developing Florida’s human capital. Our job now is to effectively and transparently steward these resources in order to improve and sustain the vitality, competitiveness, and impact of B-CU for another 116 years.”
“We are so grateful for Governor DeSantis for providing opportunities for underserving students to be able to attend college and continue their college education,” said Jaffus Hardrick, the president of Florida Memorial University. “Governor’s DeSantis’ commitment to HBCU’s is a true testament to his leadership. Thank you, Governor DeSantis, for your investment in the future of Florida.”
“Many students who come to EWC do not drop out, they stop out, due to financial hardships and difficulties,”said Dr. A. Zachary Faison, the president of Edward Waters College. “This additional support will help lessen that unfortunate trend.” “We are brimming with anticipation and so very thankful for this tremendous investment and the transformative work that our Governor and state legislature led on behalf of our venerable institution.”
According to U.S. News and World Report, three of Florida’s HBCUs–Florida A&M University, Bethune-Cookman University and Florida Memorial University–are ranked within the Top 50 of historically black colleges and universities.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Education provided major funding for Florida’s HBCUs, a total of $23.2 million, through the federal CARES Act to help ensure learning continued for students at HBCUs during the COVID-19 emergency.