“The Build Back Better framework is less about returning to the way things were and more about seeking a fundamentally different future for America’s HBCUs.”
— Former Vice President Joe Biden’s commitment to HBCUs
The proposal put forward by Biden includes the following elements:
The next set of graduates from HBCUs will see the future differently, according to a presentation delivered by Biden Tuesday at Howard University:
Through the steps discussed below, their paths to the middle class will be better positioned than those who left HBCUs.
“We’re asking HBCUs to do things different,” said Samuel Bodkin, an assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, before releasing the plan, “We’re asking HBCUs to build back better.”
Where does the plan start?
Students will start their college experience at new residential colleges that are designed for distance learning and scale learning. They will learn how to handle challenges and cope with life. They’ll have the tools they need to succeed on campus and in the community. They’ll have access to high-quality academic, occupational, and career development support systems.
Is there a “threshold” to get at?
Yes, there is, but a significant amount of funding is dedicated to kickstarting new HBCU colleges. Funding to a new or relocated college will be similar to tuition. The first three years will be focused on successful implementation with some form of assessment.
What’s the mix of new HBCUs?
Biden’s vision, as explained in the presentation, is that they will be separate, online, and university-community institutions that are accredited by the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Commission (HEC). Once approved, they will have dedicated space in on-campus dormitories. Over the next 10 years, Biden says there will be 100 new residential colleges, at which HBCUs are splitting functions and supporting each other to create seamless experiences.
Does Biden want funding for new colleges?
Yes, he does. While all schools will receive funding for their new operating costs, 10-percent of that amount will be dedicated for new colleges to “set up shop” on campus. HBCUs will also be directed to designate the remaining 90 percent of that funding to dedicated infrastructure accounts to keep student experiences consistent.
How are new colleges funded?
New colleges will seek private funding from people who believe in the institution’s mission and offer support and support systems. Many on-campus functions will be shared between new and on-campus HBCUs, providing benefit to all institutions.