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GSU responds to HBCU Future Act signing

By De'Vante Martin
On January 16, 2020

Grambling State University administration responds to the signing of the HBCU Future Act.  GSU Athletics/Courtesy photo

On Dec. 19 President Donald Trump took a decisive action to support historically black college and universities. 

President Trump signed the Future Act, which includes historically black colleges and universities in the federal five-year STEM Education Plan and the National Research and Development Budget Priorities. 

“With this executive order, we will make HBCUs a priority in the White House – an absolute priority,” President Trump said at a White Hosue press conference. “When I took office, I promised to fight for HBCUs, and my administration continues to deliver.”

GSU President Rick Gallot said that the Future Act signing provides advancements for students at minority serving institutions. 

“Each time the federal government designates more funding to HBCUs, they are making a bold declaration that these institutions are still undeniably essential for national progress,” Gallot said. 

The signing comes after funding for HBCUs was in jeopardy. There were struggles to come to an agreement in the U.S. House between Democrats and Republicans. Steam finally picked up early December, when the bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent to permanently fund HBCUs.

Many incentives were stated as a part of the Future Act. The bill reforms the FAFSA and shall be simpler according to Trump. The Future Act also includes a $35 million dollar increase in the Strengthening HBCUs Program, a $9 million dollar increase in the Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions, and a million dollar increase in the Strengthening HBCU Masters Programs. 

It has also been rumored to increase investments in student support such as pell grants, federal work-study, and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.

The Grambling State University administration gave their opinions on what the Future Act signing does for the university. 

“The Future Act provides $1.2 million in annual funding to support STEM initiatives at Grambling via our Title III activities,” Martin Lemelle, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer at Grambling State University, said. 

Valencia Williams, development specialist at GSU, said that the act mandates federal funding for HBCUs even when the university applies for federal funding that may or may not get approved. 

Trump signed the bill only a day after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach him. 

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