May 13th, Georgia U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock announced more than $84 million in funding they have secured for Georgia’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities through the American Rescue Plan. At least half of the funds must go directly to student aid in the form of grants as young people and families continue to combat displacement and economic distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the American Rescue Plan was being constructed, Sens. Ossoff and Warnock pushed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to ensure HBCUs had equitable access to federal COVID-19 relief funds in the form of direct grants.
“The leadership of these institutions will have significant discretion and flexibility,” Ossoff said during a May 7th press conference at Clark Atlanta University. “With respect to the investments that they want to make in facilities Operations, Maintenance and Technology, because the leaders of these institutions know best what they need. We did ensure in the American Rescue Plan act, however, that a full half of this federal support must go to direct assistance for students.”
President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, including the HBCU grants, into law in March.
“Historically Black Colleges and Universities are gems in our nation’s system of higher education,” Ossoff said. “Georgia’s HBCUs can count on me to fight for them.”
The total distribution to Georgia HBCUs is $84,569,878. The minimum amount allotted for student grants is $42,763,731.
“As a proud graduate of Atlanta’s Morehouse College, I know personally how indispensable Georgia’s HBCUs are to our state’s economy and heritage, and the immense value HBCU graduates add to our workplaces and communities,” Senator Reverend Warnock said. “Our hardworking students have had to navigate the public health and economic challenges of the ongoing pandemic for the past year, and this critical support from the federal government is an important hand up that will help them pursue their education, strengthen our state’s workforce, and keep our economy moving forward. I am proud of the work Senator Ossoff and I did to secure this funding for HBCU students from Savannah State University to Clark Atlanta University and everywhere in between, and I cannot wait to see how this funding will help our HBCUs and their students excel today and into the future.”
Albany State University will receive the most overall grant money, $20,372,363, with $10,538,965 allocated to student grants. Fort Valley State will receive $11,937,555, with $5,986,425 going to student grants. Clark Atlanta University will receive $16,505,072 in grant money and $8,252,536 will go directly to student grants. Morehouse College will receive $7,867,119 and $3,933,560 must be allocated to student grants. Spelman College will receive $7,438,756 in grants, and $3,719,379 will go directly to student grants.
“We want to thank our legislative partners in Washington D.C and throughout the state of Georgia for the support,” said Fort Valley State Provost Ramond Stuart. “That support is so critical because, since 1895, we’ve worked with students to try to empower them to achieve the possible through our motto ‘Empower the Possible’. So with funding like this not only for Fort Valley State University but the other Historically Black Colleges and Universities, this plays a significant role in helping us keep education affordable.”