Federal Research and Development Funding at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
The historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which have traditionally educated a
significant number of the nation’s blacks, have faced, and continue to face, substantial challenges
in attempting to enhance their academic and research capabilities. Some of these institutions have
a myriad of problems—aging infrastructures, limited access to digital and wireless networking
technology, absence of state-of-the-art equipment, low salary structures, small endowments, and
limited funds for faculty development and new academic programs for students. While many of
these problems exist in other institutions, they appear to be considerably more serious in HBCUs.
In addition, those HBCUs damaged by Hurricane Katrina have the added costs in the millions of
replacing facilities, research equipment, and rebuilding their infrastructure. This is an issue for
Congress because the distribution of federal funding for HBCUs is one of the critical issues
facing these institutions.
HBCUs comprise approximately 2.3% of all institutions of higher education, and enroll
approximately 11.6% of all black students attending post-secondary institutions. Approximately
33.0% of the undergraduate degrees in science and engineering earned by blacks were awarded at
HBCUs. Some of the most successful programs designed to attract and retain underrepresented
minorities into the sciences and in research careers have been initiated at HBCUs. Data indicate
that in 2004, HBCUs provided the education for approximately 20.2% of blacks earning bachelor
degrees in engineering, 39.5% in the physical sciences, 26.3% in computer science, 37.0% in
mathematics, 36.1% in the biological sciences, 47.0% in agricultural sciences, 16.4% in social
sciences, and 21.4% in psychology.
On August 14, 2008, the President signed into law P.L. 110-315, the Higher Education
Opportunity Act (HEOA). The HEOA provides authority for loans for repair and renovation of
academic research facilities, among other facilities. Language in Title III, Part B, provides
formula grants to eligible institutions. The percentage of funds allocated to each institution is
based on several factors, and no institution can receive less that $250,000. Title III, Part D of the
HEOA establishes a bonding authority to raise capital to be lent to HBCUs for repair and
renovation of facilities. The total amount that would be available for financing is $1.1 billion. The
aggregate authority principal and unpaid accrued interest on these loans cannot be more than
$733.3 million for private HBCUs and no more than $366.7 million for public HBCUs. Title III,
Part E of the HEOA provides funding for two new minority science and engineering improvement
programs. A partnership grant program is directed at increasing the participation of
underrepresented minority youth or low-income youth in science, mathematics, engineering, and
technology education. Activities to be supported include outreach, hands-on, and experiential-
based learning projects. Another program will focus on encouraging minorities to pursue careers
in the scientific and technical disciplines.
Introduc tion ..................................................................................................................................... 1
Classification of HBCUs.................................................................................................................4
Federal Research and Development Support at HBCUs.................................................................6
Research Funding at HBCUs...........................................................................................................7
Research Facilities at HBCUs.........................................................................................................9
Various Agency Programs to Enhance Support of Research at HBCUs........................................11
Congressional Action in the 110th Congress..................................................................................14
Table 1. Federal R&D Support and Total Academic S&E Funding to the Top 20 HBCUs
in FY2005, Ranked by R&D Support..........................................................................................8
Table 2. Source of Funds for Science/Engineering Research Facilities at the Original 29
Author Contact Information..........................................................................................................16
The historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which have traditionally educated a
significant number of the nation’s blacks, have faced and continue to face substantial challenges
in attempting to enhance their academic and research capabilities and develop programs to
compete with other institutions of higher education. Some of these black institutions have a
myriad of problems—aging infrastructures, limited access to computer resources and digital
network technology, absence of state-of-the-art equipment, low salary structures, small
endowments, and limited funds for faculty development and new academic programs for 1
students. While many of these problems exist in other institutions, they appear to be considerably 2
more serious in HBCUs. In addition, those HBCUs damaged by Hurricane Katrina have the
added costs in the millions for replacing facilities, research equipment, and rebuilding their 3
The changing external environment (increasing public demand for institutional accountability and
effectiveness) and new competitive conditions in higher education (varying levels of state support
coupled with spiraling costs of research) have made it increasingly harder for HBCUs to develop 4
and expand their research programs. Because of their level of financial support (federal, state,
and private), some believe many HBCUs are unable to engage in the level of cutting-edge 5
scientific research conducted by many non-HBCUs. Many HBCUs face difficulty competing for 6
federal research dollars with other research-performing universities. Coupled with limited
1 House Committee on Education and Labor, America’s Black Colleges and Universities: Models of Excellence and
Challenges for the Future, 110th Cong., 2nd Sess., March 13, 2008, Written testimonies of Hazel O’Leary, President,
Fisk University and Earl S. Richardson, President, Morgan State University. See also Chalokwu, Christopher I., “A
Rationale for Increasing Funding for HBCUs,” Black Issues in Higher Education, v. 20, January 1, 2004, p. 98, Frazier,
Matt, “Survival Is Evolving Struggle for Black Colleges,” Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, February 2, 2003, Metro, p. 1.
2 See for example Powell, Tracie, “Surviving Tough Times: From Administrative Reorganizations to Finding New
Streams of Revenue, Some Historically Black Colleges and Universities are Determined to Stay Afloat,” Black Issues
in Higher Education, v. 20, January 1, 2004, pp. 34 -37.
3 See for example Minor, James T., Contemporary HBCUs: Considering Institutional Capacity and State Priorities,
Michigan State University, College of Education, January 2008, 37 pp., Southern Education Foundation, “Education
After Katrina: Time for a New Federal Response,” Atlanta, GA, August 2007, 35 pp., Hamilton, Kendra,
“Restructuring, Restoring and Rebuilding,” Diverse Issues in Higher Education, v. 23, March 23, 2006, pp. 24-27, and
Schuman, Jamie, “Southern U. At New Orleans May Have to Rebuild From Scratch, at a Cost of $300-Million or
More,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, v. 52, September 23, 2005, p. A16.
4 Educational Testing Service, A Culture of Evidence III: An Evidence-Centered Approach to Accountability for
Student Learning Outcomes, Princeton, NJ, February 2008, 24 pp., Department of Education, A Test of Leadership,
Charting the Future of U.S. Higher Education, A Report of the Commission on the Future of Higher Education,
September 2006, 76 pp., Carey, Kevin, “Make Universities Accountable for What Matters,” Education Sector,
November 2007, Redden, Elizabeth, “Explaining State Spending on Higher Ed,” Inside Higher Ed, October 11, 2007,
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/11/spending, and National Science Foundation, “Universities Report
Stalled Growth in Federal R&D Funding in FY2006,” InfoBrief, NSF07-336, Rhonda Britt, Arlington, VA, September
2007, 6 pp.
5 Chalokwu, Christopher I., “A Rationale for Increasing Funding for HBCUs,” and House Committee on Science and
Technology, Subcommittee on Research, Preparing a 21st Century Workforce: Strengthening and Improving K-12 and thnd
Undergraduate Science, Math, and Engineering Education, 107 Cong., 2 Sess., April 22, 2002, Testimony of
Sebetha Jenkins, President, Jarvis Christina College.
6 See for example The Southern Education Foundation, Igniting Potential, Historically Black Colleges and Universities
and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Summer 2005, 36 pp.
federal support, HBCUs have very small endowments. A 2005 report of the Southern Education 7
Foundation found that HBCUs have received attention and support from only a few foundations.
Amid criticism by officials and representatives of HBCUs concerning the disparity in their receipt
of federal science and engineering support, several executive orders were issued between 1980 to
programs and to improve the administrative infrastructure of the institutions. The most recent
executive order was released on February 12, 2002, and states that:
In developing its annual plan, each executive department and agency identified by the
Secretary shall emphasize programs and activities that develop the capacity of historically
black colleges and universities to contribute to the development of human capital and to
strengthen America’s economic and technological base through: (1) infrastructure
development and acquisitions for instruction and research; (2) student and faculty doctoral
fellowships and faculty development: (3) domestic and international faculty and student
exchanges and study-abroad opportunities; (4) undergraduate and graduate student 9
internships; and (5) summer, part-time, and permanent employment opportunities.
An August 2008 report of the NSF reveals that for the academic year 2006, approximately 33.0%
of the black science and engineering doctorate recipients had earned their bachelor degrees at an 10
HBCU. While HBCUs have played an important role in providing the undergraduate
preparation for many of those black students entering highly specialized science and engineering
disciplines, forecasts indicate that their efforts at attracting, retaining, preparing, and graduating
students in the sciences and engineering may need to be expanded in order to respond to changing 11
demographics. A September 2006 report of the Department of Education (ED) states that
between 2004 and 2015, enrollment in degree-granting institutions is projected to increase 27%
for black, non-Hispanic students, 42% for Hispanic students, 30% for Native American/Alaskan 12
Natives, 28% for Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 6% for white, non-Hispanic students. These 13
groups, the “new majority,” on which the economy must increasingly rely, have traditionally
7 The Southern Education Foundation, Igniting Potential, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Science,
Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, pp. 22-23.
8 The various executive orders include Executive Order 12232, August 1980; Executive Order 12320, September 1981;
Executive Order 12677, April 1989; Executive Order 12876, November 1993, and Executive Order 13256, February
9 The White House, Executive Order 13256, Advisors for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, February 2002,
10 National Science Foundation, “Role of HBCUs as Baccalaureate-Origin Institutions of Black S&E Doctorate
Recipients, “ InfoBrief, NSF08-319, Joan Burrelli and Alan Rapoport, Arlington, VA, August 2008, 8 pp.
11 Lomax, Michael, “The HBCU Mission: A Fresh Look for a New Congress,” Diverse Issues in Higher Education, v.
24, February 22, 2007, p. 51, Allen, Walter R., Joseph O. Jewell, Kimberly A. Griffin, and De’Sha S. Wolf,
“Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Honoring the Past, Engaging the Present, Touching the Future,” Journal
of Negro Education, Summer 2007, pp. 263-281, and Igniting Potential, Historically Black Colleges and Universities
and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, 36 pp.
12 Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Projections of Education Statistics to 2015,
NCES2006-084, September 2006, p. 10. Note: Demographic data indicate that blacks, Hispanics, Native
Americans/Alaskan Natives, and Asians/Pacific Islanders will comprise more than 52% of the undergraduate
population (18-24 years old) of the United States by 2050, an increase from the recorded 34% in 1999. National
Science Foundation, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering:2007, NSF07-315,
Arlington, VA, February 2007, p.4. See also National Science Board, America’s Pressing Challenge—Building a
Stronger Foundation, NSB06-02, Arlington, VA, January 2006, p. 3.
13 The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 303 counties in the nation, out of a total of 3,141, have a “majority-minority”
population—more than 50% racial/ethnic minority. U.S. Census Press Releases, August 9, 2007.
been underrepresented in the sciences compared to their fraction of the total population.14 There
are those observers who believe that the problem of underrepresented minorities in science,
mathematics, engineering, and technology could compromise the United States’ ability to develop 15
and advance its traditional industrial base and to compete in international marketplaces.
Freeman A. Hrabowski, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, states that : “... 16
[T]he paucity of minority scientists is not simply a minority issue; it is an American issue.”
HBCUs are defined as those institutions that were established prior to 1964, with the principal 18
mission of educating black Americans. While three HBCUs were established prior to the Civil
War, the majority of these institutions were established after the War, several with the public 19
support of land grants through the Freedman’s Bureau. The National Land-Grant Colleges Act
of 1862 (P.L. 37-108), otherwise known as the 1862 Morrill Act, provided public lands to various 20
states for the purpose of constructing educational institutions. Funds appropriated under this act
were distributed to the states “with the intention that they would foster equal educational 21
opportunities for all students, especially newly freed Blacks.” However, the land-grant higher
education system resulting from the 1862 Morrill Act failed to provide equal educational
opportunities. Black students were excluded from enrolling in traditionally white institutions.
Funds from the Morrill Act began to flow systemically to schools offering only all-white
education. Congress attempted by various legislation to force racial equality, including
equality of educational opportunity. However, the U.S. Supreme Court initiated a series of
interpretations of the post-Civil War constitutional amendments which ultimately defeated
these various legislative efforts. Culminating with its landmark 1882 decision finding the
14 For discussion of the participation of underrepresented groups in the sciences see for example Women, Minorities,
and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2007, 304 pp., Johnson, Angela, “Graduating
Underrepresented African Americans, Latino, and American Indian Students in Science,” Journal of Women and
Minorities in Science and Engineering, v. 13, 2007, pp. 1-21, White, Jeffrey L., James W. Altschuld, and Yi-Fang Lee,
“Persistence of Interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics: A Minority Retention Study,” The
Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, v. 12, 2006, pp. 47-64, and CRS Report 98-871,
Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Education: Status and Issues, by Christine M. Matthews.
15 See for example Heriot, Gail, “Civil Rights Commission to Explore Ways to Encourage More Minorities to Enter
Science, Technology, Engineering & Math,” The Right Coast, September 4, 2008, http://rightcoast.typepad.com/
rightcoast/2008/09/civil-rights-co.html, The National Academies, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Energizing and
Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy,
Washington, DC, National Academy Press, 2007, pp. 165-168, and Commission on the Advancement of Women and
Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology Development, Land of Plenty - Diversity as America’s Competitive
Edge in Science, Engineering and Technology, September 2000, 91 pp.
16 Pluviose, David, “The Meyerhoff Model,” Diverse Issues in Higher Education, v. 25, July 10, 2008, pp.18-19.
17 For an expanded history of HBCUs see for example Jackson, Cynthia L. and Eleanor F. Nunn, Historically Black
Colleges and Universities, A Reference Handbook, Santa Barbara, California, 2003, 253 pp, and Peltak, Jennifer,
History of African-American Colleges & Universities, Philadelphia, 2003, 120 pp.
18 Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Snyder, Thomas D., Stephen Provasnik, and
Linda L. Shafer, Historically Black Colleges and Universities: 1976 to 2001, NCES2004-062, Washington, DC,
September 2004, p. 1.
19 The Freedman’s Bureau operated from 1865-1873 to provide assistance for newly freed slaves. Ibid., p. 2.
20 The establishment of a public land-grant system is considered to be one of the most significant developments in U.S.
higher education. Prior to the First Morrill Act, higher education opportunities were limited to the very elite.
21 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 1976 to 2001, op. cit., p. 1.
first Civil Rights Act  unconstitutional, the Supreme Court held that the 14th 22
amendment only protected against direct discriminatory action by a State government.
A Second Morrill Act was passed in 1890, which included language mandating States with dual
systems of higher education to provide land-grant institutions for both systems. As a result, 19
institutions were established as black land-grant institutions, enrolling those black students who
had been excluded under the 1862 legislation. While there was the creation of two land-grant
systems—one established under the 1862 Land-Grant Act (1862 Morrill Act) and the other under
the 1890 Land-Grant Act (Second Morrill Act)—the level of support for the 1890 institutions
(both federal and state) never approximated the level received by the 1862 land-grant 23
institutions. In particular, during the expansion of program offerings and disciplines at the 1890
institutions, the disparity in funding for research infrastructure between them and the earlier 24
established institutions severely limited their efforts to support basic and applied research. In
written testimony before the House Committee on Agriculture in support of legislation providing
assistance to 1890 institutions, the Honorable Harold E. Ford noted that:
The 1890 institutions were never adequately funded the way they should have been by the
various states. With assistance from the various states and Federal Government, the 1862
institutions were permitted to thrive and expand, while the 1890 institutions received meager
funding from both their respective state and Federal Government.
Furthermore, the 1890 institutions were not eligible to participate in the facilities programs
provided in the late 1960s and early 1970s by the Federal Government. Under the Research
Facilities Act of 1963, only the 1862 land-grant institutions were permitted to participate in
this program. Not until 1967 did the Federal Government start to provide research funds to
the 1890 programs. These funds were for research projects, and not for constructing research 25
The diversity of HBCUs parallels that of other institutions of higher education. HBCUs are
composed of public and private institutions, single-sex and coeducational, predominantly black 26
and predominantly white, two-year and four-year institutions, research universities, liberal arts
23 For a discussion of the history of land-grant institutions, see McDowell, George R., “Land-Grant Colleges of
Agriculture: Renegotiating or Abandoning A Social Contract”, Choices, Second Quarter 1988, p. 18-21, Schuh, G.
Edward, “Revitalizing Land-Grant Universities,” Choices, Second Quarter 1986, p. 6-10, National Research Council,
Board on Agriculture, Colleges of Agriculture at the Land Grant Universities: A Profile, Washington, DC, 1995, and
Bonnen, James T, “Land Grant Universities Are Changing,” November 1996, http://www.adec.edu/clemson/papers/
24 Most HBCUs began as “normal” schools—with the fundamental mission to train teachers. Beginning in the late
1960s and early 1970s, there was a shift in that focus to other professions. HBCUs do, however, continue to graduate
and award a large number of degrees in the field of education.
25 In 1967, the federal government provided $285,000 to be divided among 16 1890 land-grant institutions
(approximately $17,812.50 per institution). House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Department th
Operations, Research, and Foreign Agriculture, Hearing on H.R. 1309, 1890 Land-Grant Colleges Facilities, 97 st
Cong., 1 Sess., June 4, 1981, p. 13-15.
26 Fall 2005 enrollment data reveal that three HBCUs have predominantly white student populations—Bluefield State
College (88.5%), West Virginia State College (84.5%), and Lincoln University, Missouri (60.4%). In addition, St.
Phillip’s College, San Antonio, a two-year institution, has a large Hispanic enrollment—47.7%. St. Phillip’s College is
colleges, professional schools, and community colleges. A March 2008 report of ED provides
statistical data on 100 HBCUs—41 public four-year colleges, 11 public two-year colleges, 46 27
private four-year colleges, and 2 private two-year colleges.
HBCUs comprise almost 2.3% of all institutions of higher education and enroll approximately 28
11.6% of black students attending post-secondary institutions. Approximately 33.0%, on
average, of the undergraduate degrees in science and engineering earned by blacks were awarded
by HBCUs. In addition, some of the most successful programs designed to attract
underrepresented minorities into the sciences and in research careers have been initiated at 29
HBCUs. An analysis of ED 2006-2007 preliminary data shows that Xavier University, an
HBCU, ranks first nationally in the number of blacks earning undergraduate degrees in the 30
biological and biomedical sciences. The institution has received national recognition for its
model science program and has participated in NSF’s Model Institutions for Excellence program.
North Carolina A&T State University, also an HBCU, ranks first in the number of blacks earning 31
undergraduate degrees in engineering. Data compiled by the NSF reveal that in 2004, HBCUs
provided the education for approximately 20.2% of blacks earning bachelor degrees in
engineering, 39.5% in the physical sciences, 26.3% in computer sciences, 37.0% in mathematics,
the only institution with the dual designation of being both an HBCU and a Hispanic-serving institution. The black
student enrollment at St. Phillip’s is 16.2%, and the white student enrollment is 33.8%. See also Goldman, Russell,
ABC News, “Changing Face of Historically Black Colleges,” May 19, 2008, http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=4874870.
27 Department of Education, Digest of Education Statistics 2007, NCES2008-022, Washington, DC, March 2008, Table
230, pp. 348-349. Documents provided by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities
list, as of September 2008, a total of 105 HBCUs. The list of the 100 institutions detailed in the Digest of Education
Statistics, excludes those HBCUs that are not participating in Title IV programs (Higher Education Act). Title IV
eligible institutions are required to meet certain criteria in order to receive federal student financial aid. A Title IV
eligible institutions must have, among other things, “acceptable accreditation and admission standards, eligible
academic program(s), administrative capability, and financial responsibility.” Digest of Education Statistics 2007, p.
28 Digest of Education Statistics 2007, Tables 218 and 231, pp. 314, 350. ED data reveal that for the academic school
year 2006-2007, there were 2,629 four-year institutions, and 1,685 two-year institutions. Disaggregated data show that
HBCUs are approximately 3.3% of all four-year institutions and less than 1.0% of all two-year institutions.
29 The underrepresented minorities include blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and women. Asian Americans are
excluded because they are not statistically underrepresented in science, mathematics, and engineering. See for example
National Science Foundation, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, Figure D-
2, p. 10, and Wyer, Mary, “Intending to Stay: Images of Scientists, Attitudes Toward Women, and Gender as
Influences on Persistence Among Science and Engineering Majors,” Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and
Engineering, vol. 9, 2003, pp. 1-16.
30 Borden, Victor M. H.,”Top 100 Undergraduate Degree Producers—Interpreting the Data,” Diverse Issues in Higher
Education, v. 25, June 12, 2008, p. 28.
31 Ibid., p. 34.
32 National Science Foundation, Science and Engineering Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity of Recipients: 1995-2004,
NSF07-308, Arlington, VA, January 2007, Table 13. Note: An expanded discussion of HBCUs is contained in
Department of Education, Characteristics of Minority-Serving Institutions and Minority Undergraduates Enrolled in
These Institutions, NCES2008-156, November 2007, 196 pp.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) provides data on federal academic science and
engineering support to colleges and universities in six categories: research and development
(R&D); fellowships, traineeships, and training grants; R&D plant; facilities and equipment for
instruction; general support for science and engineering; and other science and engineering 33
activities. An important issue in the academic community, and in science and technology policy
in general, is the distribution of federal R&D funds to colleges and universities. A major criticism
of federal R&D funding patterns is that there is concentration in certain colleges and universities,
restricting the development and expansion of scientific and technical capabilities in other
institutions. In an analysis of 650 research-performing institutions, NSF found that the top 100
institutions accounted for approximately 80% of all academic R&D funding in FY2006. Those 34
institutions falling in the top 100 category showed only minimal changes in more than 20 years.
The charge is that the elite institutions (“haves”) continue in their status, and the less-prestigious 35
research institutions (“have-nots”) continue to struggle for research funding. While various
measures of equity can be calculated based on the number of institutions, geographic distribution,
student enrollments, science and engineering students, graduate students, and so forth—the
following analysis will examine federal obligations for R&D to HBCUs as a percentage of all
institutions receiving R&D expenditures.
An October 2007 report of the NSF reveals that in FY2005, 908 U.S. colleges and universities 3637
received R&D support. Of that total, 72 are HBCUs. Trend data reveal that these research-
performing HBCUs have not shared proportionately in the distribution of federal R&D 38
obligations to colleges and universities. Although funding to HBCUs has increased in the past
33 Other science and engineering activities are defined as “... technical conferences, teacher institutes, and programs
geared to increase the scientific knowledge of precollege and undergraduate students. Such activities comprise some of
the building blocks of science education and future research capability.” National Science Foundation, “The Extent of
Federal S&E Funding to Minority-Serving Institutions,” InfoBrief, NSF04-325, Richard J. Bennof, Arlington, VA, June
2004, p. 2.
34 National Science Foundation, “Universities Report Stalled Growth in Federal R&D Funding in FY2006,” NSF07-
336, InfoBrief, September 2007, 6 pp.
35 In 1990, the first Bush Administration proposed to categorize and classify HBCUs based on their missions and
programs. The premise was that it would allow federal agencies to select the appropriate group for developing linkages,
rather than having them work with the various programs in all the institutions. Considerable criticism voiced by
presidents and department chairs of HBCUs contributed to the withdrawal of the proposal. Opposition was based on the
concern that only a small group of the institutions would receive funding—those that were already considered to be the
research “elite.” It was believed that the remainder would be abandoned. Mercer, Joye, “ White House Scraps
Classification Plan for Black Institutions,” Black Issues in Higher Education, v. 8, May 23, 1991, p. 7.
36 National Science Foundation, “FY2005 Federal S&E Obligations Reach Over 2,400 Academic and Nonprofit
Institutions; Data Presented on Minority-Serving Institutions,” NSF07-326 (Revised), InfoBrief, Richard J. Bennof,
October 2007, p. 2. A total of 1,227 academic institutions received federal S&E support in FY2005 (with R&D being
one of the six categories of S&E support).
37 National Science Foundation, Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit
Institutions: FY2005, Table 24.
38 See for example Anderson, Lauren Bayne, “Black Colleges Continue Fighting for Federal Funds,” The Wall Street
Journal, October 29, 2003, p. B.4J, “Pork Barrel Grants: Tidbits for Black Colleges,” The Journal of Blacks in Higher
Education, Autumn 2003, pp. 68-69, and Salandy, Anthony, “Correcting the Inequities in Federal Research Funding,”
Black Issues in Higher Education, v. 19, May 23, 2002, p. 42.
colleges and universities. A 2007 report of the NSF, Federal Science and Engineering Support to
Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: Fiscal Year 2005, reveals that for FY2005,
HBCUs received approximately $294.2 million for R&D, an increase of $19.4 million (7.1%) 39
over the FY2004 level of $274.8 million. Data from FY1996-FY2005 show that while research-
performing HBCUs are approximately 5.9% of all U.S. institutions conducting R&D, they receive 40
approximately 1.2%, on average, of all federal academic R&D support.
An analysis of federal academic R&D support finds that funding is concentrated at selected 41
institutions. Funding for non-HBCUs also is concentrated at selected institutions. In FY2005,
the top 10 HBCUs (in terms of receipt of federal R&D to HBCUs) accounted for approximately
of total R&D support. (In FY1996, the top 10 HBCUs received 61.2% of funding to these
institutions, and the top 20 institutions received 82.7% of funding.)
Table 2 below provides a listing of the top 20 HBCUs and their level of total academic science 42
and engineering support. The rankings (by R&D amounts received in FY2005) reveal that there
has been only relative change in the concentration of federal R&D support among the top 20
HBCUs since FY1996. Eight of the top 10 HBCUs in FY2005 for R&D support also were ranked
in the top 10 for FY1996 (in different ordinal positions). In addition, 15 of the top 20 institutions
for R&D support in FY2005, also were among the top 20 institutions in FY1996. However, a few
institutions have received increased support so as to change their ranking. In FY2005, Jackson
State University ranked sixth in R&D support; in FY1996, it had ranked fifteenth. Lincoln
University (Jefferson City) ranked fifteenth in FY2005. It had ranked twenty-fifth in FY1996.
South Carolina State University, which ranked sixteenth in FY2005, ranked twenty-third in
FY1996. North Carolina Central University ranked nineteenth in FY2005, and had ranked forty-
39 The data on federal support to academic R&D result from a compilation of 19 agencies. R&D includes all research
activities, both basic and applied, and all development activities that are supported at colleges and universities.
Obligations reported do not include funds to federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs). The
institutions compiling this population are those receiving current year obligations. Caution should be exercised in
reviewing the data. Because of the relatively small number of HBCUs, data from a few institutions can skew the
quantitative findings and have a marked effect on the resulting analysis. National Science Foundation, Federal Science
and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: Fiscal Year 2001, Detailed Statistical
Tables, NSF 02-319, Arlington, VA, August 2003, Table B-22, pp. 173-174.
40 National Science Foundation, Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit
Institutions: Fiscal Year 2005, NSF07-333, Arlington, VA, October 2007, Tables 1 and 24, and Federal Science and
Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: Fiscal Year 2003, NSF06-309, Arlington,
VA, June 2006, Table 22.
41 In FY2005, approximately 30% of the total federal academic R&D expenditures in science and engineering went to
the leading 20 institutions. National Science Foundation, “Universities Report Stalled Growth in Federal R&D Funding
in FY2006,” InfoBrief, NSF07-336, Richard J. Bennof, Arlington, VA, September 2007, p. 4.
42 NSF reports that federal academic science and engineering support for HBCUs, and minority institutions as a whole
(includes Hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges), is “allocated relatively less for R&D and relatively more for
S&E capacity building activities when compared to non-minority-serving institutions. National Science Foundation,
“The Extent of Federal S&E Funding to Minority-Serving Institutions,” p. 1.
fourth in FY1996. The Hampton University ranked first in R&D support for FY2005; it had 43
ranked eighth in FY1996.
Table 1. Federal R&D Support and Total Academic S&E Funding to the Top 20
HBCUs in FY2005, Ranked by R&D Support
(dollars in millions)
Institutions R&D Total S&E
All HBCUs $294.2 $479.2
Top 20 HBCUs
1. Hampton University 40.1 44.1
2. Howard University 24.1 32.2
3. Morehouse School of Medicine 20.9 28.7
4. Florida A&M University 18.2 23.2
5. Meharry Medical College 18.1 30.7
6. Jackson State University 16.5 22.1
7. Morgan State University 10.8 12.8
8. North Carolina A&T State University 10.8 21.4
9. Tennessee State University 9.3 16.9
10. Tuskegee University 8.1 20.5
11. Alabama A&M University 7.5 11.7
12. Lincoln University (Jefferson City, MO) 6 9.4
13. North Carolina Central University 5.9 8
14. Prairie View A&M University 5.5 10.1
15. Southern University A&M College (all campuses) 5.4 11.6
16. Fort Valley State University 4.4 8.4
17. South Carolina State University 3.8 8.5
18. Fisk University 3.7 4.9
19. Clark Atlanta University 3.7 5.4
20. Virginia State University 3.7 8.3
Source: National Science Foundation, Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Selected
Nonprofit Institutions, Fiscal Year 2005, Detailed Statistical Tables, NSF07-333, Arlington, VA, October 2007, Table
24. Total academic S&E includes R&D; R&D plant; facilities for instruction in S&E; fellowships, traineeships, and
training grants; general support for S&E; and other S&E activities. See footnote 42.
43 Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Selected Nonprofit Institutions, Fiscal Year
2005, Table 21, and Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Selected Nonprofit
Institutions, Fiscal Year 1996, Table B-22. Howard University had consistently ranked number one in R&D support to
HBCUs for several decades. In FY2003, Howard University ranked number two, fell to number three in FY2004, and
again regained the ranking of number two in FY2005. For expanded discussion of academic support to HBCUs see
National Science Foundation, “FY2005 Federal S&E Obligations Reach Over 2,400 Academic and Nonprofit
Institutions; Data Presented on Minority-Serving Institutions,” 8 pp.
Facility construction/modernization/maintenance probably represents the largest capital
investment for institutions of higher education. Many in academia contend that the quality of an
institution’s facilities is directly linked to the quality of education offered. While estimates vary
on the level of deferred research facilities expenditures at all institutions of higher education, the
amount of deteriorating physical plant and backlog of maintenance at HBCUs may be more 44
pronounced. Approximately 70% of the HBCUs were established prior to 1900 (55% date from
before 1890). Some have aging facilities with electrical systems that are inadequate for the loads
that complex computer systems and other state-of-the-art equipment (if available) would require.
In the mid-1980s, hearings were held in both the House and the Senate to examine the condition 45
of the nation’s scientific and engineering research facilities. In addition to congressional
interest, there was particular concern by those in the academic and scientific community about the
quantity and quality of research space at nondoctorate-granting institutions, minority-serving
institutions, and biomedical institutions. As a result of the hearings, NSF was directed to collect
and analyze data on a range of academic research facilities issues (How much space is there for
conducting scientific research?, What is the condition of the existing space?, How much of the
space requires renovation or repair?, Is there enough space to meet the Nation’s scientific
research needs?, How do colleges and universities fund their research projects?, etc.). In October
facilities. This particular survey and analysis included 660 research-performing institutions, of 47
which 57 were HBCUs.
In a 1998 survey of 57 research-performing HBCUs, the institutions reported having
approximately 2.3 million net assignable square feet (NASF) of science and engineering research 48
space. The majority of the space was in the biological sciences, agricultural sciences, and
44 House Committee on Science, Subcommittee on Research, H.R. 2183, the Minority Serving Institutions Digital and
Wireless Technology Opportunity Act, 108th Cong., 1st Sess., July 9, 2003, House Committee on Education and the st
Workforce, Subcommittee on Select Education and the Subcommittee on 21 Century Competitiveness, Responding to stthst
the Needs of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the 21 Century, 107 Cong., 1 Sess., April 23, 2001, pp. thndthnd
69-98, 107 Cong., 2 Sess., February 13, 2002, pp. 77-94, and 107 Cong., 2 Sess., September 19, 2002, pp. 51-60.
45 See for example House Committee on Science and Technology, Improving the Research Infrastructure at U.S.
Universities and Colleges, 98th Cong., 2nd Sess., May 8, 1984.
46 National Science Foundation, Scientific and Engineering Research Facilities at Colleges and Universities, 1998,
Topical Report, NSF01-301, Arlington, VA, October 2000. For this particular survey and analysis, research-performing
institutions were defined as (1) those institutions that offer a master’s or a doctorate degree in science and engineering;
(2) report in excess of $50,000 expenditures in 1993 academic R&D survey; and (3) all HBCUs, non-HBCU-black
institutions, and Hispanic-serving institutions with any research expenditures.
47 The other minority institutions in the survey included 13 non-HBCU-black institutions, and 9 Hispanic-serving
institutions. Non-HBCU-black institutions are those colleges and universities with at least a 25% black student
enrollment according to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, but do not have the designation as
48 National Science Foundation, Scientific and Engineering Research Facilities at Colleges and Universities, 1998,
NSF01-301, Arlington, VA, October 2000, 232 pp. Since 1986, the NSF has collected, on a biennial basis, data on
scientific and engineering research facilities in higher education. Different analyses and various reports are released.
This topical report contains data from the 1998 survey that included a total of 80 research-performing, minority-serving
institutions—57, HBCUs; 13, non-HBCU-black institutions; and 10, Hispanic serving institutions. (This is the most
current published data available for an analysis of this type.) Note: “Net assignable square feet (NASF) is defined as the
sum of all area, in square feet, on all floors of a building assigned to, or available to be assigned to, an occupant for
specific use.” p. 2.
engineering. However, 88% of the institutions reported that the amount of existing science and
engineering research space was insufficient for meeting current research efforts. When asked to
evaluate the condition of the existing space, 48% of the HBCUs indicated that their existing
research space was effective for most levels of research, but required limited repair/renovation.
An additional 15% determined that their institutions’ existing space required major renovation in
order to be used effectively for research in the science and engineering disciplines.
The NSF survey revealed that for FY1996 and FY1997, approximately 15% of HBCUs initiated
repair/renovation projects, and 14% began major construction projects. In the 1998 survey,
HBCUs reported $331.0 million in construction and repair/renovation projects and campus 49
infrastructure projects that had to be deferred due to lack of funding. This constitutes 2.4% of all
deferred projects reported by research-performing institutions.
Aggregate data were collected from a reduced sample of 29 institutions in order to compare 50
research facility construction with similar surveys beginning in 1988. This separate analysis of
29 HBCUs revealed that the amount of science and engineering research space increased from 1.1
million NASF in 1988 to 1.9 million in 1998 (72.7%). Between the 1996 survey and the 1998
survey, research space at the original 29 HBCUs increased by 88 thousand NASF (4.9%). The
amount of research space increased the most in engineering and the agricultural sciences. During
the period 1988 to 1998, research space increased in every field except the medical sciences in
medical schools and computer science.
An additional analysis of the 29 HBCUs revealed that in 1996 and 1997, 11 of the 29 HBCUs
initiated research facility construction projects, the same number of institutions that began
construction startups in the 1988 survey. During the intervening years, specifically 1992-1995,
only 4 of the 29 HBCUs initiated science and engineering research construction projects on their
campuses. In the 1998 survey, FY1996 to FY1997, the 29 HBCUs provided $64.3 million in
support of new construction projects. (The projects cost in excess of $100,000.) It was anticipated
that the new projects would translate into 335 thousand NASF of new research space, 18% above 51
the current available space.
For the periods 1986-87 and 1992-93, the federal government was the largest source of funding
for science and engineering research construction projects at the 29 HBCUs. The primary source
of funding changed, and during 1994-95 and 1996-97, state and local governments provided the
bulk of funding to these institutions for construction projects. Federal support to the 29
institutions did increase from 1994 to 1997, but the increase had slowed relative to other funding
sources. Table 2 below details the source for research facility funding (in constant dollars) for the
sample of 29 HBCUs.
49 Ibid., p. 79.
50 These were the “original” HBCUs that reported separately budgeted R&D expenditures and science and engineering
research space in the 1988 survey (FY1986 and FY1987).
51 Ibid., p. 81.
Table 2. Source of Funds for Science/Engineering Research Facilities at the Original
29 HBCUs: 1986-97
(in millions of constant 1997 dollars)
1986-87 1990-91 1996-97 1986-87 1990-91 1996-97
Federal Government 43.5 14.5 4.6 11.6 4.2 2.2
State/Local Government 34.3 7.6 50.5 6.5 9.6 1.8
Private Donations 14.8 0.0 3.0 0.7 0.1 0.0
Institutional Funds/Other 3.1 5.0 6.1 0.0 0.1 3.6
Total 95.5 27.0 64.3 18.8 14.0 7.6
Source: Scientific and Engineering Research Facilities at Universities and Colleges: 1998, op. cit., pp. 83-84.
Components may not add to totals due to rounding.
The NSF has several programs supporting HBCUs and other minority institutions. The
Historically Black Colleges and Universities-Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) funds projects
to improve the quality of undergraduate scientific and technical programs through curricular
reform and enhancement, faculty development, upgrading of scientific instrumentation, and 53
improvement of research infrastructure. The FY2008 estimate is $16.1 million. Centers of
Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) seeks to upgrade the research
capabilities of the most productive minority institutions. HBCUs and other minority-serving
institutions develop alliances with other universities, laboratories, and centers in order to provide
their students with direct experience in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The 54
FY2008 enacted level for CREST is $14.9 million.
In January 2008, NSF announced a collaborative project involving eight HBCUs and seven major
research institutions to encourage black students to pursue degrees in robotics and computer 55
science. The Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact (ARTSI) initiative would
52 This is not a complete compilation of federal agency support, but illustrates the various efforts to address the support
of research infrastructure at HBCUs. Many of the programs in the various agencies are an outgrowth of Executive
Orders 12232 and 12320. Note: For an expanded discussion of federal support to HBCUs see Department of Education,
White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Office of Postsecondary Education, Fulfilling
the Covenant—The Way Forward 2004-05 Annual Report to the President on the Results of Participation of
Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Federal Programs, by the President’s Board of Advisors on
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, November 2007, 53 pp.
53 Since 2001, the HBCU-UP has provided funding for science and mathematics education and research programs at 80
HBCUs. This includes support of programs at 82.0% of four-year HBCUs and to 46.0% at two-year HBCUs.
54 See also Robinson, Natasha, “NC Historically Black College 1st to Get NSF Grant,” September 8, 2008,
http://www.dailyadvance.com/news/state. North Carolina A&T State University will receive approximately $18.0
million over a period of five years to develop and operate the Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing
55 Currently, approximately 2 million computer and information scientists are in the United States, of which 4.8% are
offer outreach programs at the K-12 and college levels and support research activities at HBCUs,
internships for minority students in university laboratories, and provide mentoring programs for
undergraduates. ARTSI would be funded at $2.0 million for a period of three years.
The Department of Agriculture, Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service
(CSREES), administers a Capacity Building Grants Program to assist the 1890 land-grant
institutions and Tuskegee University strengthen their research and teaching capabilities in high
priority areas of the food and agricultural sciences. These activities include obtaining state-of-the-
art scientific instrumentation for laboratories. For FY2008, $13.7 million will be made available 56
for this program. In addition to the Capacity Building Grants Program, the CSREES provides
funding for research at the 1890 institutions through the Evans-Allen formula. The FY2008
enacted level for this program is $41.3 million.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has established a University
Research Centers (URC) program to fund research projects in space science and applications,
advanced space technology, and advanced astronautics technology. Currently, the URC provides
$1.0 million a year for five years to seven HBCUs. The Curriculum Improvement Partnership
Award (CIPA) is designed to improve and strengthen the scientific and technical undergraduate
curricula at minority institutions. CIPA provides $125,000 per year for three years. CIPA currently
supports nine minority-serving institutions, of which three are HBCUs. FY2008 is the final year
of funding for this program. CIPA was restructured and combined with the Partnership Award for
the Integration of Research into the Undergraduate STEM Curriculum (PAIR) to form the
Curriculum Improvements Partnership Award for the Integration of Research (CIPAIR). CIPAIR
will strategically enhance teaching and education strategies across academic programs. CIPAIR is 57
effective beginning in FY2008, and will provide $100,000 to $200,000 per year for three years.
NASA Science and Technology Institute for Minority Institutions (NSTI-MI) has two main
components—student internships and research clusters. Underrepresented and underserved
students from minority institutions compete to conduct research with NASA scientists and
engineers. Clusters of minority institutions also engage in specific NASA-related research at one 58
of the 10 NASA Centers. Funding for NSTI-MI in FY2008 is $2.0 million.
P.L. 109-364, The National Defense Authorization Act, FY2006 provides approximately
$11,662.5 million for science and technology programs. Contained in that funding is support for,
among other things, the University Research Initiative (URI) and HBCUs. It is anticipated that
participating HBCUs will increase their involvement in the performance of defense research and
in the scientific disciplines critical to the national security functions of the Department of Defense
(DOD). P.L. 110-116, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, FY2008 provides $20.0
million for HBCUs and other minority institutions to enhance their R&D activity, develop
approaches to inter-university research in the DOD critical technology and homeland security
areas, and to increase their personnel in these areas.
56 Some matching funds are required.
57 The CIPAIR budget for FY2008 is $2.8 million. This amount is for new project solicitation and for completion of
those grants awarded within the CIPA structure.
58 See also “NASA Awards Education Research Grants to Minority Universities,” September 16, 2008,
In testimony before the House Science Committee, Sebetha Jenkins, President, Jarvis Christian
College, stated that: “[G]iven the demographic changes taking place in this nation, investing more 59
in HBCUs is, in actuality, about the future prosperity of this nation.” Jenkins proposed the
establishment of a program for minority institutions that is similar to the Experimental Program to
Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). EPSCoR is designed for those states and institutions 60
that are perceived as being the “have-nots” and are in the most need of R&D support. This
proposed EPSCoR-like program would build new and expanded capacity and capability for
minority-serving institutions. Key elements of the EPSCoR-like program would be technical
assistance and the development of partnerships between major research institutions and minority-
serving institutions. This initiative would support also an HBCU centers program for the
education and training of professionals in the scientific and technical disciplines. Jenkins, and
others in the academic community, believe that an EPSCoR-like program would stimulate the
competitive R&D capacity of HBCUs. Success of the HBCU centers would be dependent on
unfettered resources, with funding being provided until the centers were self-sustaining.
The viability of any academic institution is a function of its ability to provide a quality education
for its student population. Data reveal that many HBCUs have provided their black student
population with a quality education, especially in the scientific and technical disciplines. In
testimony before the House Committee on Education and Labor, Dorothy Cowser Yancy,
President, Johnson C. Smith University, stated that:
HBCUs today represent only 4% of all higher education institutions, but they graduate
approximately 30% of all African-American students, 40% of African American students
receiving a four-year degree in [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics], and
50% of African American teachers.... The successes were achieved despite the fact that in
recent year’s federal support for HBCUs has only increased in very modest amounts; and in
spite of the fact that HBCUs continue to receive significantly less funding for research, 61
facilities, and programs than their historically white counterparts.
However, these institutions are faced with an increased challenge of attracting and preparing an
increasingly larger number of blacks in the scientific and technical disciplines. Demographic data
show a student population and workforce increasingly composed of minority groups that have
been historically underrepresented in science, mathematics, and engineering. Shirley Ann
Jackson, President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, contends that this demographic pattern may
affect the development of the scientific and engineering workforce and, consequently, the conduct st62
of R&D during the 21 century. The success of research programs at HBCUs is inextricably
59 House Committee on Science and Technology, Subcommittee on Research, Preparing a 21st Century Workforce:
Strengthening and Improving K-12 and Undergraduate Science, Math, and Engineering Education, 107th Cong., 2nd
Sess., April 22, 2002, Written statement of Sebetha Jenkins, President, Jarvis Christian College.
60CRS Report RL30930, U.S. National Science Foundation: Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research
(EPSCoR), by Christine M. Matthews, U.S. National Science Foundation: Experimental Program to Stimulate
Competitive Research, by Christine M. Matthews.
61 House Committee on Education and Labor, America’s Black Colleges and Universities: Models of Excellence and
Challenges for the Future, Written statement of Dorothy Cowser Yancy, President, Johnson C. Smith University, p. 3.
62 Jackson, Shirley Ann, President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, “The Quiet Crisis and the Future of American
Competitiveness,” Speech before the American Chemical Society, August 29, 2005.
linked to their ability to provide an environment for fostering additional scientific talent.63 The
National Academies report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, states:
Increasing participation of underrepresented minorities is critical to ensuring a high-quality
supply of scientists and engineers in the United States over the long term. As minority
groups increase as a percentage of the US population, increasing their participation rate in
science and engineering is critical if we are just to maintain the overall participation rate in
science among the US population. Perhaps even more important, if some groups are
underrepresented in science and engineering in our society, we are not attracting as many of 64
the most talented people to an important segment of our knowledge economy.
The distribution of federal funding for HBCUs is one of the critical issues facing these
institutions. Some say that past and current policies have not provided effective remedies for their
problems of infrastructure necessary to develop strong scientific programs. Many HBCUs are
attempting to expand their research capacity by developing expertise in areas such as homeland
security and national defense, cyberinfrastructure, environmental observatories, food security,
energy expenditures, genomics, and material science. They contend that improved funding for
facilities and instrumentation is needed to strengthen the capability of these colleges and
universities to contribute to the nation’s long-term economic vitality. While many HBCUs have
engaged in strategic planning in order to obtain a more competitive research base, Congress may
continue to consider options that would bring HBCUs closer to an equal footing with other
institutions and enable them to move toward full partnerships in conducting research. This issue
may be examined when assessing the capacity of HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions
to contribute to the health of the nation’s higher education system, and in producing an
increasingly larger number of trained scientific and technical personnel needed to meet the 65
challenge of a highly competitive international economy.
On August 14, 2008, the President signed into law P.L. 110-315, the Higher Education 66
Opportunity Act (HEOA). The HEOA establishes a new program in Title III, Section A to
63 Roach, Ronald, “The Journey for Jackson State,” Diverse Issues in Higher Education, v. 23, February 8, 2007, pp.
22-27, and Suitts, Steve, “Fueling Education Reform: Historically Black Colleges are Meeting a National Science
Imperative,”Cell Biology Education, v. 2, July 2, 2003, pp. 205-206.
64 The National Academies, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter
65 P.L. 110-84, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, added a program entitled “Predominantly Black
Institutions.” Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) are defined as those institutions with at least 1,000
undergraduates in which blacks comprise 40% or more of the total enrollment. In addition, 50% of the enrollment must
be either low-income or first-generation students. Grants of at least $250,000 would be provided for the eligible
institutions. In introducing the measure, Senator Barack Obama stated that: “To restore America’s competitiveness, we
must invest in the success of traditionally underrepresented groups.” (Press Release, May 29, 2007). For discussion of
this proposal for PBIs see CRS Report RL34283, Higher Education Act Reauthorization in the 110th Congress: A
Comparison of Major Proposals, by Blake Alan Naughton et al..
66 Signed into law on August 14, 2008, P.L. 110-315 authorizes, amends, and establishes programs under the Higher
Education Act of 1965. (See H.R. 4137, Conf. Report 110-803.) The Higher Education Opportunities Act, also known
as the College Opportunity and Affordability Act, was last fully authorized by P.L. 105-244. During that period of
time, there were 14 extensions to the Higher Education Act. For expanded discussion of the legislation see CRS Report
RL34654, The Higher Education Opportunity Act: Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, by David P. Smole et
provide federal support to Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). These PBIs that qualify for 67
funding fall outside of the definition of an HBCU. To be eligible as a PBI, the institution must
have, among other things, an enrollment of undergraduate students that is at least 40.0% black,
and must have a total enrollment of at least 1,000 undergraduates, with half of them being in
degree programs. Grant proposals for PBIs can be in the areas of science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics, in addition to teacher preparation, health education, and
international issues. Title III, Part E of the HEOA provides funding for two new minority science
and engineering improvement programs. A partnership grant program is directed at increasing the
participation of underrepresented minority youth or low-income youth in science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics education. Activities to be supported include outreach, hands-on,
and experiential-based learning projects. Partnership grants to be awarded are for a period of five
years in an amount not less than $500,000. Non-federal matching funds are required. An
additional program will be directed at encouraging minorities to pursue careers in science,
mathematics, engineering, and technology.
The HEOA provides authority for loans for repair and renovation of academic research facilities,
among other facilities. Language in Title III, Part B, Investing in HBCUs and Other Minority
Institutions, provides formula grants to eligible institutions. The percentage of funds allocated to 68
each institution is based on several factors, and no institution can receive less than $250,000.
Also under Title III, Part B, the HEOA provides assistance to Historically Black Graduate 69
Institutions to increase the number of blacks in certain professional disciplines. Title III, Part D,
HBCU Capital Financing, establishes a bonding authority to raise capital to be lent to HBCUs for
repair and renovation of facilities. The total amount that would be available for financing is $1.1 70
billion. The aggregate authority principal and unpaid accrued interest on these loans are to be 71
made for two types of institutions in the amounts of $733.3 million and $366.7 million.
On September 4, 2007, the House passed, as amended, H.R. 694, Minority Serving Institution
Digital and Wireless Technology Opportunity Act. The bill would provide, among other things,
funding to acquire equipment, instrumentation, networking capability, hardware and software,
digital and wireless networking technology, and infrastructure to improve the quality and delivery
of educational services of these institutions. The institutions eligible for participation include (1)
HBCUs; (2) Hispanic-, Alaskan Native-, or Native Hawaiian-serving institutions; (3) tribally
controlled colleges and universities; and (4) institutions with a sufficient enrollment of needy
students as defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965. Support also would enable these
institutions to obtain capacity-building technical assistance through remote technical support and
technical assistance workshops, and to advance the use of wireless networking technology in an
effort to improve research and education, including scientific, engineering, mathematics, and
technology instructions. Funding would be available through grants, cooperative agreements, or
contracts. Non-federal matching requirements would be required in the amount equal to one-
quarter of the award, or $500,000, whichever is the lesser amount. Matching requirements could
67 An HBCU is defined as an institution established prior to 1964 and have as its primary mission the education of
blacks. Please see footnote 24.
68 Previous Higher Education Act amendments set the minimum award for institutions at $500,000.
69 The Act adds six institutions to the list of eligible institutions, with restrictions. The six institutions are Alabama
State University, Prairie View A&M University, Delaware State University, Langston University, Bowie State
University, and the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law.
70 Previous Higher Education Act amendments set the level of funding at $375.0 million.
71 Previous Higher Education Act amendments set the awards at $250.0 million and $125.0 million.
be waived for an institution with little or no endowment. The bill would authorize $250.0 million 72
for FY2008 and such sums as may be necessary for each of FY2009 through FY2012.
On January 8, 2008, similar legislation, S. 1650, Max Cleland Minority Serving Institution
Digital and Wireless Technology Opportunity Act of 2007, was reported in the Senate (S.Rept.
110-257). S. 1650 would authorize, also, $250.0 million annually for each of FY2008 through
FY2012. The bill would strengthen the ability of minority institutions to provide course offerings,
faculty development, and capacity-building technical assistance in digital and wireless network
technologies. S. 1650 is designed to narrow the “economic opportunity divide” that currently
exists between students in minority serving institutions and their counterparts in other 73
institutions. Similar to H.R. 694, funding would be awarded through a peer-review process in
the form of grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements. An eligible institution could receive as
much as $2.5 million annually. The Senate committee bill would also establish an office in the
Department of Commerce and there would be cost sharing requirements from grant recipients
similar to that contained in H.R. 694. Cost sharing would be waived for those institutions with no 74
endowment or an endowment valued at less than $50.0 million.
Christine M. Matthews
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy
72 Authorizations are to be appropriated to the Technology Administration of the Department of Commerce to carry out
section 5(c) of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980.
73 Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Max Cleland Minority Serving Institution Digital and
Wireless Technology Opportunity Act, S.Rept. 110-257, Report to accompany S. 1650, 110th Cong., 2nd Sess., January
8, 2008, p. 1.
74 See also Schmidt, Peter, “New Congressional Caucus Formed to Fight for Black Colleges,” The Chronicle of Higher
Education, v. 55, September 19, 2008, p. A16.