Coons, Scott bill would strengthen partnerships between HBCUs, federal agencies
The U.S. Senate on Dec. 11 passed the HBCU Propelling Agency Relationships Towards a New Era of Results for Students Act, introduced by Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and Tim Scott, R-South Carolina.
The bill, previously passed in the House of Representatives, is now headed to the president’s desk for signature. If signed into law, this legislation will strengthen partnerships between federal agencies and the country’s more than 100 historically Black colleges and universities.
The HBCU PARTNERS Act builds on the president’s 2017 executive order on HBCUs and provides pathways for Congressional oversight and public engagement. It will require federal agencies with relevant grants and programs to undertake annual planning and coordinate their efforts to support and expand HBCU participation in those programs. The bill strengthens the rigor and transparency requirements of existing law by requiring that agencies track their progress toward past goals and share their plans with Congress. In addition, it codifies the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs, ensuring an ongoing avenue for the institutions’ priorities and policy concerns to be raised.
“HBCUs like Delaware State University play a critical role in helping to ensure that every American has access to higher education, and I’m so proud that our bipartisan bill to support the missions of HBCUs is one step closer to becoming law,” said Coons. “We have much more work ahead to make college accessible and affordable for all Americans, and HBCUs are an important part of that work.”
"Once again, Delaware's Congressional Delegation has shown unparalleled commitment in working for the passage of the HBCU Partners Act," said Delaware State University President Tony Allen. "This time, Sen. Coons, in particular, made the fundamental case, 'excellence requires access.' The PARTNERS Act opens the door to a new level of access to research and funding opportunities. We expect it will be a significant catalyst toward propelling the first HBCU into research one status in history. This is a moment whose time has come, and Sen. Coons led the way — again."
Full text of the bill is available at bit.ly/3mkgQaW.