WASHINGTON — The nation’s historically black colleges and universities are pushing for President Trump to set aside more federal contracts and grants for their schools, and take a greater hand in their welfare by moving responsibility for a key program for those colleges to the White House.

The presidents of the nation’s 100-plus historically black colleges and universities, pressing their case for greater attention from the new Republican-controlled government, met with Vice President Mike Pence on Monday afternoon and planned to meet with Republican lawmakers Tuesday.

The college presidents, as well as the United Negro College Fund, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and other advocates, planned to express their support for migrating the White House Initiative on historically black colleges and universities from the Education Department to the White House itself.

Such a move would give the initiative “greater impact for our institutions,” said Johnny Taylor, head of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a nonprofit that has supported public historically black colleges and universities since 1987.

“Anything that the Trump administration could do to channel more federal dollars in form of grants and contracts to and through the HBCUs would really benefit our institutions and in many cases, our communities, as well,” said Mickey L. Burnim, president of Bowie State University, in Bowie, Maryland.

There were more than 231,000 students enrolled at black colleges and universities in 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Almost 80 percent were black.

Total enrollment declined from 326,614 to 294,316 between 2010-2014, according to the latest information available from National Center for Education Statistics. The percentage of black college students attending a historically black college or university also dropped from 18 percent of the overall total in 1976 to 8 percent in 2014.

Trump got 8 percent of the African-American vote.

The United Negro College Fund and the Marshall fund also have been lobbying for the new president to devote some direct attention to the well-being of historically black schools. One of Trump’s most visible African-American aides, Omarosa Manigault, holds degrees from two of these colleges: Central State University in Ohio and Howard University in Washington, D.C.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that the White House would likely “look at the various resources throughout the federal government that support HBCUs.”

He said they may look to ensure “there’s a direct pipeline to the president of the United States that those programs are being executed in a way that’s benefiting the future of HBCUs and the various projects and teaching that goes on there.”

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.