LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the nation are voicing their opposition to President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion Budget Reconciliation bill - including Simmons College of Kentucky.
Initially, Biden proposed $55 billion in funding to HBCUs in his "Build Back Better" plan. However, when the bill went to Congress for reconciliation, that changed to $30.5 billion, a drastic decrease that will impact how Simmons operates moving forward.
Vice Provost Javan Reed said the cuts reflect HBCUs being put on the backburner.
“To me to 'Build Back Better' means to start with historically Black colleges," he said. "We have been left out of the conversation and we have been left out of the plans altogether."
Funding is always a topic of conversation at any institution - but at HBCUs, federal funding is necessary. HBCUs have long faced disadvantages in raising funds and are struggling to grow their endowments.
According to the National Association of College and University Business, the top 10 predominantly white institution endowments and donations totaled nearly $200 billion in 2020. The top 10 HBCU endowments totaled $2 billion.
“This is another way to look at how we have been left out and been refused as opposed to predominantly white institutions being infused with funds,” Reed said.
Plans for a new dorm building and a student center have been put on hold now that funding is in question.
For second-year student LaShondra Lias-Lockhart, it's a disappointment - she would have benefitted firsthand from the new facilities.
"I'm disappointed, I don't know another way to put it. The need for that money to stay within the HBCU community is crucial," she said.
Vice Provost Reed said Simmons will now look into creative and alternate ways for funding.