Sen. Cory Booker announced a sweeping $100 billion funding plan on Tuesday, targeted at increased support for historically black colleges and universities.
The plan includes grant programs to bolster STEM education programs, making them more affordable for low-income students, as well as various initiatives for climate-focused research.
“HBCUs make our country stronger and more reflective of the diversity that makes us so great,” Booker, whose parents were both educated at HBCUs, said in a statement. “I am here today because of the power of these institutions to uplift and bring about opportunity to black Americans."
HBCUs currently account for nearly 20 percent of degrees obtained by black Americans. Former presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris has also spoken openly on the importance of HBCUs in the black educational system.
If a Black student has a Black teacher before the end of third grade, they're 13% more likely to go to college.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 16, 2019
If they have two Black teachers before the end of third grade, they're 32% more likely to go to college.
Investing in public education and in HBCUs matters.
"As president, I will redouble our efforts to support and invest in HBCUs across the country ― my mother and father wouldn’t have it any other way," Booker said.
Alongside Booker, other Democratic candidates — like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — have also released plans for increased HBCU funding.
"All over this country, too many HBCUs have struggled financially from a lack of federal resources; they’ve suffered from a drop in enrollment and from crushing institutional debt,” Sanders said at an event at Morehouse College last month. “And yet today, the need for HBCUs and the education they provide has never been greater.”
Booker's campaign has hailed the proposal as the boldest investment strategy for such institutions among Democratic candidates. They also pushed the need for bold action with many HBCUs are on the brink of financial collapse.