Miss. Senators Cosponsored Bill to Strengthen Federal Agency Support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate late Tuesday approved legislation cosponsored by U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) to strengthen partnerships between federal agencies and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), including institutions in Mississippi.

The HBCU PARTNERS (Propelling Agency Relationships Towards a New Era of Results for Students) Act (S.461) would require federal agencies to undertake annual planning and coordination of efforts to support and expand HBCU participation in relevant grants and programs.  The bill was passed by unanimous consent.

“Mississippi’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities prepare thousands of young people for success,” said Wicker.  “The Senate’s unanimous support for this legislation is a testament to the contributions these institutions make to communities across the country.”

“Mississippi’s strong HBCU system can benefit from a comprehensive strategy by federal agencies to engage and support these schools as they prepare new generations of students to reach their full potential,” Hyde-Smith said.  “This measure will also work to increase outreach to HBCUs for programs and initiatives where they are not now well represented.”

The HBCU PARTNERS Act builds on a 2017 executive order on HBCUs.  Among other things, it codifies the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs to give these institutions an avenue to promote priorities and policy concerns.  It would also strengthen transparency requirements of existing law by requiring agencies to track progress in HBCU participation and share that information with Congress.

Last week, Wicker and Hyde-Smith both addressed the university leaders as part of the HBCU “Fly-In” sponsored by U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) as part of Black History Month.  Alcorn State University Interim President Dr. Donzell Lee and Mississippi Valley State University President Dr. Jerryl Briggs attended the event, at which Scott unveiled the HBCU PARTNERS Act.