Gov. Northam proposes increase of funding for historically Black colleges, universities

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 5:04 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 10, 2021 at 11:22 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia Union University is responding to news the state’s HBCUs could see a step-up in funding.

Governor Ralph Northam continued his “Thank You, Virginia” tour in Norfolk on Thursday, where he visited Norfolk State University. While there, Northam announced $277 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities as part of his proposed budget. Included in the proposal, the creation of an HBCU opportunity fund. It would give $10 million to private schools, such as Virginia Union University and Hampton University, for the first time.

Leaders at VUU say it’s realizing the need for investing in education can have huge returns. It’s why campus leaders have a mission.

“Dealing with the affordability question for those students who cant afford the educational experience that we provide,” Dr. Terrell Strayhorn explained. He’s the university’s Provost.

Money can be a major hurdle in getting from high school to a college campus. It’s why recently, VUU began a program to partner with Richmond Public Schools.

“Last year we gave 50 scholarships,” Strayhorn said. “They went high schoolers who now won’t have to face a financial burden of college tuition after they graduate.” Strayhorn says if VUU gets the money the Governor is proposing, “It allows us to expand the capacity and the scope of our scholars’ program.”

Private schools such as VUU don’t typically receive state funding.

“HBCUs have historically been underfunded by our Commonwealth and by our country,” said Da’Quan Love with the NAACP.

So will a new Governor and the General Assembly agree with Northam’s proposal?

“Let me be clear right here, right now, I will include in my first budget when I’m working for you as our Governor funding for all 5 HBCUs and it will show up in every budget that I present thereafter,” Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin said while on the campaign trail.

Time will tell if that promise matches, exceeds, or falls below Northam’s proposal.

“You want to make strategic investments in areas that will reap benefits...You’re investing in our collective future as a nation,” Strayhorn added.

He wants to see VUU be able to not just offer RPS students scholarships for tuition, but also scholarships for room and board. He says with the proposed funding, they’ll be able to do that.

Governor Northam has increased state funding for Norfolk State University and Virginia State University by 87 percent over his term.

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