Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cutting HBCU Funding? Aww Sh*t? Barry Done Effed' Up!

I've mused here many times about exactly what it would take to get President Obama squarely on the bad side of Black America. The theories were many, but most agreed that cheating on Michelle (especially with a White chick) would be the ultimate betrayal. Otherwise, it's darn near impossible for The Beige One to not be Black America's Darling. Im-freakin' possible.

That said, I wonder what the fallout of this latest news will be.
Leaders of historically black colleges say they'll fight a reduction in a federal program they call a financial lifeline at a time of economic distress for the schools and their students.

President Barack Obama's education budget, unveiled Thursday, included major spending increases in many areas — but didn't include an extra $85 million that black institutions have received annually for the past two years thanks to a 2007 change to the student loan laws.

That two-year-old program provided direct funds to federally recognized HBCUs — historically black colleges and universities. Other direct federal support to the schools would increase from $238 million to $250 million, but with the expiration of the HBCU fund the schools effectively would see a $73 million cut.

A program supporting Native American tribal colleges would also see decreased funding, while one for institutions serving large numbers of Hispanic students would see an increase from $93 million to $98 million.

Education Department officials emphasized that all such institutions stand to gain from other parts of the budget, notably the proposed increase in the maximum Pell Grant for low-income students by $200 — to $5,550.

Still, the move could suggest that even as the administration pushes big education spending increases focused on low-income and minority students, direct support for institutions isn't the most favored method. The HBCU program is unusual; most federal help for higher education goes to students, and thus only indirectly to schools.

The historically black colleges and universities have been hit particularly hard by the recession, and HBCU leaders said this is no time to cut back on programs offering direct support to institutions that play an outsized role educating the neediest students.

The 105 federally recognized HBCUs make up just 3 percent of U.S. colleges but account for nearly 20 percent of undergraduate degrees awarded to blacks, according to UNCF, the United Negro College Fund. However, some have struggled with low graduation rates. An AP analysis earlier this year found that, overall, black students at four-year HBCUs have lower graduation rates than black students at other schools.

HBCUs have about 132,000 students receiving Pell grants, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal figures collected by the nonprofit group The Education Trust. Even if all got the maximum $200 Pell Grant increase, that would provide HBCUs new revenue totaling only about one-third of the funding cut outlined in the budget.

Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina — home to 11 HBCUs — questioned the administration's priorities, considering its decision to spare $9 million in funding for whaling history museums.

Education Department officials said the additional $85 million the HBCU program enjoyed the last two years was temporary and that HBCUs shouldn't have counted on it continuing.
I never thought I'd agree with an NC Republican, but Senator Burr is absolutely correct. Let's keep it 100, there's no way to spin this nicely. Clinton increased funding for HBCU's each year. Ditto for W. Bush. Barry, 5 months into office, has already taken out the knife, and I say there's no logical excuse for this. Side with him all you want about not needing blacks in the Administration, or in the Cabinet, but lets not even remotely consider giving him a pass on this. This, is inexcusable. Period.

Not surprisingly, a similar program benefiting Hispanic students saw its funding increased. Chew on that.

[Editor's Note: If ya'll wanna call me hypocritical for being upset about this, yet in agreement with Obama's decision to end school vouchers for DC schoolkids, go right ahead. The shoe fits.]

Can we please not try to excuse this reduction as a "difficult decision in difficult economic times"? It's a f*ckup, let's call it exactly what it is. This is not even $100M, roughly the cost of some highwway repaving projects in the stimulus package. In these economic times, getting an education is about the only way out the ghetto for many young blacks. Yeah, I realize that marginally increasing the maximum Pell Grant is helping, but losing $73M when many of our schools are already reeling from a lack of state funding is inexcusable. Period.

Major f*ckup, Barry. Major.

Question: Is there any logical explanation for Obama cutting funding to HBCU's?!? Will Black America give Obama a pass on this too?

Black colleges will fight cut to federal program [AP]

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