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Wiley College president testifies before Congress about HBCUs (533 hits)

Wiley College President Herman Felton Jr. provided testimony April 9 before the House panel that decides the funding levels for all federal education programs.

The House Appropriations Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee received public witness testimony from 24 individuals to inform their crafting of the upcoming bill to fund the government for fiscal year 2020. The remarks provided by Felton focused on the funding and national benefits of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

A Marine Corps veteran and lifelong educator, Felton’s testimony was the first of the afternoon to receive bi-partisan support from both Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT) and Ranking Member Tom J. Cole (R-OK). The funding leaders commended Wiley College and similar HBCUs for their work with first-generation college students, specifically for being an integral part of the American higher education fabric for decades.

“We will be sure that the center of our discussion and debate will be that we strengthen HBCUs,” Chairwoman DeLauro added, concerning the $39 billion National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) who introduced Dr. Felton to the Subcommittee prior to his testimony, noted that funding recommendations in Felton’s testimony “just make sense.”

UNCF worked with Congress to garner the opportunity for HBCUs to be represented in the proceedings. Felton echoed the priorities laid out by UNCF’s president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax during the organization’s inaugural “State of the HBCUs Address” on March 5, including:

Increase funding for the discretionary “Strengthening HBCUs” Program to $375 million ($93 million increase over FY 2019);
Reauthorize the mandatory “Strengthening HBCUs” Program this year;
Fund the HBCU Capital Finance Program, including support for the deferment authority;
Double the Pell Grant award and support Second Chance Pell; and
Support funding to produce more African-American health professionals and researchers, including at NIH.

“What we witnessed today was history,” Lodriguez V. Murray, UNCF’s vice president for public policy and government affairs, said. “One of our HBCU member presidents delivered remarks about the needs of all HBCUs and their students, weaving in the history of Wiley College. The goals are clear: increase resources necessary for the Pell-eligible and first generation college students who have found an HBCU education to be a necessity; and allot the funding necessary for HBCUs to continue to remain competitive and thrive.”

“The reception Dr. Felton received at the hearing showed, once again, that when we take a positive proactive agenda to Capitol Hill, bipartisanship is the response,” Murray added.

Wiley College President Herman Felton Jr. speaks with U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert while visiting Washington, D.C. Felton spoke about the needs of historically-black colleges and universities during a Congressional panel on education funding.

Posted By: Elly Moss
Monday, April 15th 2019 at 12:11PM
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