I began my college journey at Howard University, located in Washington, D.C.
Historically black colleges and universities like Howard University provided so many other black American students and me with a level of academic support and a sense of community that most of us would not have found at predominantly white institutions.
For first-generation college students like I was, this can make the difference between academic (and later professional) success and dropping out in frustration.
Liberal politicians have negative thoughts of President Trump, but his support of HBCUs is unprecedented.
His administration has forgiven more than $300 million in outstanding debt to four schools impacted by natural disasters and protected $80 million in Title III carryover funding and made over $1 billion in funding available to HBCUs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has also committed hundreds of millions of dollars in permanent new funding for generations to come.
But perhaps closest to my heart is the president’s decision to lift the ban on faith-based HBCUs from receiving these funds.
Schools like Xavier University in Louisiana provide their students with an environment that affirms both their faith and their culture.
As its website makes clear, “Xavier is a nationally recognized leader in the STEM and health sciences fields, producing more African-American students who graduate from medical school each year than any other university in the United States. Its College of Pharmacy is also among the top producers of African-American pharmacists.”
Given the current public health crisis and its disparate impact on the African-American community, I am particularly grateful that schools like Xavier will be able to serve more students in the future.
This will lead to a higher number of trusted black doctors, pharmacists and other health care professionals being ready to serve and educate their communities.
Although plenty of African-American students can and do thrive at predominantly white colleges, HBCUs still perform a special and unique function in our society.
I am grateful President Trump has made HBCUs a priority, signing an executive order to put the White House Initiative on HBCUs within the Executive Office of the President. The EO then established an interagency working group to advance and coordinate efforts regarding HBCUs.
During the Obama-Biden administration, not only did HBCU funding decrease, but HBCU administrators had requested the federal HBCU initiative office be moved back into the White House.
However, President Obama never got it done.
As the first black president, he should know the importance of HBCUs to the black community.
President Trump is a champion of our HBCUs and will continue to be a champion with another four more years.
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