HBCU Fiscal Crisis Is a Quagmire

Tomika Anderson writes at Ebony that even though the Obama administration is doing all it can for HBCUs, which are struggling to stay afloat during this fiscal crisis, things look bleak. 

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Howard University (Matthew Abbott/Getty Images)

Tomika Anderson writes at Ebony that even though the Obama administration is doing all it can for HBCUs, which are struggling to stay afloat during this fiscal crisis, things look bleak.

It's not that the Obama Administration does not get the importance of saving the collectively sinking ship -- the president has stated that the success of students attending the 105 institutions, most of them established at the close of the Civil War, is critical to meeting his 2020 education goal. 2020 is also the year Black and Latino children are expected to make up 50 percent of the nation's students

But given the serious fiscal challenges facing this country -- including a looming government shutdown, a proposed $40 billion cut to food stamps, the heavy costs of Obamacare and other challenges being weighed on Capitol Hill -- no one seems to be able to answer how, when or can it be done. 

This includes Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education. "These are tough times, tough times," said Duncan Wednesday during a meeting of African American journalists at the start of the annual National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference. "There's nothing I can do to mitigate the impact of sequestration," he added, pointing to the looming five-percent cut in federal spending at the start of the government's new fiscal year, which will likely cause HBCUs to potentially lose millions more.

Dr. George Cooper, newly appointed executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, doesn't see any obvious solutions either. The best-case scenario, he said during the summit, is that unspecified federal agencies will lend a hand.

Read Tomika Anderson's entire piece at Ebony. 

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