These 45 HBCUs have $1.6 billion in debt eliminated

The Department of Education said the Capital Financing loan forgiveness will improve outcomes for institutions, students.
By: | April 5, 2021
Photo courtesy of Morgan State University

A group of 45 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) received word from the U.S. Department of Education that they had a total of $1.6 billion in debt discharged.

The 13 public and 32 private institutions that participate in the HBCU Capital Financing Program, which provides financial assistance for infrastructure improvements and construction, received a reprieve through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA). When the original stimulus plan was introduced last December, that number was estimated to be $1.3 billion.

“Our HBCUs have long been on an uneven playing field, financially, as compared to many other postsecondary institutions,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “This relief will further support these mission-critical institutions and help to ensure they have more resources to educate and graduate students during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Department also said HBCUs will net an additional $5 billion via the American Rescue Plan and the CARES Act’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

The combination of assistance will allow HBCUs to not only defray the costs of pandemic-related activities and make necessary repairs to aging facilities but also improve their retention rates and academic outcomes for students.

“This debt forgiveness is nothing short of transformational for HBCUs, and with this Congress can now add itself to the likes of Netflix founders Reed Hastings and Patty Quillin, MacKenzie Scott, and Bruce and Martha Karsh, who have donated considerable resources to HBCUs to make life better for those who are the most deserving and know the impact of racial inequity in our country,” said Dr. Michael Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF.

The institutions receiving aid

The Capital Financing Loan Program has helped provide aid to HBCUs since 1992, with 113 lower-cost loans granted to 50 institutions for various infrastructure projects. The Department said 87 of those had been outstanding and ranged from $10 million to just over $150 million.

Some of those included nearly $70 million at Morgan State University to help refinance debt, build a new public safety facility and improve student housing; $100 million for Xavier University of Louisiana to help build new dorms and update its HVAC, plumbing and maintenance in buildings; and $47 million to the University of the Virgin Islands to help construct a research and technology business innovation center and medical simulation center.

The colleges and universities benefiting from the relief include those above and these others:

  • Alabama A&M University, Allen University, Alabama State University, Arkansas Baptist College
  • Benedict College, Bennett College, Bethune–Cookman University, Barber-Scotia College
  • Central State University, Claflin University, Clark Atlanta University
  • Florida A&M University, Florida Memorial University
  • Grambling State University
  • Hampton University, Harris–Stowe State University, Huston-Tillotson University
  • Jarvis Christian College, Johnson C. Smith University
  • Lane College, Lawson State Community College, LeMoyne-Owen College, Livingstone College
  • Meharry Medical College, Miles College, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Philander Smith College
  • Saint Augustine’s University, Shaw University, Stillman College, South Carolina State University, Southern University at Baton Rouge, Southern University at Shreveport
  • Talladega College, Texas College, Texas Southern University, Tuskegee University
  • Virginia Union University, Voorhees College
  • Wilberforce University, Wiley College